Foster Care

A’s Arrival

In our area there is a hefty demand for foster parents. We assumed that once we were approved we would start getting placement calls right away. We had even been told by other foster parents, that they received a placement on the same day of their approval! Much to our surprise when we were approved in August/September, it was November before we received the placement call for our little guy. Legally, I’m unable to share his name at this time, so in the online space we refer to him as “A”.

Let me set the Scene

It had been a long day at work. I was 32 weeks pregnant with our first biological child. I had run in Aldi to pick up a couple items we needed for dinner that night. I was on the phone with my mom.
As mom & I were talking, my phone beeped with another call. I assumed it was probably a scam call, cause who other than your mom calls you anyway? But I glanced down & saw that it was our social worker Christi. I quickly told mom I’d have to call her back and basically hung up on her. I wasn’t expecting Christi to call for any reason, and she typically texted or emailed with needs/updates, so I knew this must be a potential placement call.

I answered, quickly paid for my groceries and hurried to the parking lot so I could better hear Christi and ask questions in private.

Sure enough, Christi had a placement for us…..a two year old African American little boy who would be needing placement immediately. I told Christi I needed to call my husband, but that I would be calling her right back.

A quick phone conversation with Blake, and a call back to Christi sealed the deal: we were becoming real foster parents that night!

When you receive a placement call, often times there is very little information known yet about the child/situation. I asked questions, but really all we knew was that he was 2yrs old, a boy, had no obvious signs of physical abuse, had not been sexually abused to anyones knowledge, and that he was being removed from the care of his father, mother’s location was not known and she wasn’t in the picture.

Our social worker explained that the child was not physically in their custody yet, because when they went to do the removal, he wasn’t home. It was the end of the work day and she wasn’t on call that night. She explained once he was at the DCBS office another worker would call us with an update and arrange for pickup/drop off and provide us with any additional details.

Blake & I arrived home and immediately surveyed what items I had gathered on hand that might work for a 2yr old boy. We didn’t have much, and definitely needed a carseat, so we headed to walmart. An hour later we were back home, still awaiting word from the social workers. We arranged with our bosses to have the following day off so we could get childcare arrangements made, be seen by a pediatrician, and help our little guy adjust to his new home.

We waited, and waited, and waited with no update.

Around 8pm a call finally came…..the child was still on his way home, he had been out of state with a relative when they came to do the removal. They were unsure what time it might be when he arrived, but hopefully not much longer.

At 9:30 we finally decided to go on to bed. Honestly, I went to bed thinking we probably wouldn’t hear anything else and the placement wouldn’t come. We had heard from other foster parents that sometimes these things fall through at the last moment and often the foster parents are left in the dark, not being notified.

But, at 11:30 the social worker called me back, he had finally arrived and been removed from his family. They were on their way to bring him to us! A little after midnight they arrived. Our initial impression was a super cute, hyper, little boy that kept walking around saying “oh shit”. The social worker still didn’t have much information for us about the case, she provided us with paperwork we would need, contact information for the investigating social worker, and told us someone would be in contact the following day. And she left.

Blake & I could tell this little guy was going to need some time to unwind before sleep would be an option. We showed him around the house, showed him our toy room, and what would be his room. He played for a while, and then we decided not knowing where he had been/what he might’ve been exposed to, it was wise to give him a bath before bed. He was excited to play in the tub and went to bed soon after.

First 24hrs

The following day was a blur.
A wouldn’t eat a single thing we offered him. Literally not one thing. He would drink water though, thank goodness.
I tried to get him an appt with our local pediatrician, but it was a Friday and since he wasn’t sick, they couldn’t see him until Monday.
We had no idea what we would do about childcare. We only have 2 daycares in our small town, both of which typically stay full with a lengthy wait list. Thankfully one of the daycares specifically holds a couple spots for foster children. They couldn’t accept him right away, but in 3 weeks he could start.
We also visited our local headstart program and filled out an application for him to attend. They had no spots immediately, but assured us that spots came open all the time and that hopefully within a couple weeks they could get him in.
We had to make a trip to walmart to exchange all the 2T clothes I had bought the night before, because he was much taller than the average 2 year old & nothing I purchased was going to fit!
We spent the rest of the day at home just spending time together. That night we had previously made plans to attend the high school basketball game, so we decided to take A and proceed with our plans. He loved watching the game and finally ate something: popcorn!

First few weeks

My mom is an early childhood educator, she noticed immediately that our A was displaying difficulties with speech and seemed to be delayed in other areas as well. We wanted to be proactive and get him connected with any services/help he might need! We coordinated with his doctor and social worker to request an evaluation by First Steps. Unfortunately, no program like this is able to work quickly due to their volume of referrals, but they were able to get him scheduled within a couple weeks. We were also working under somewhat of a time crunch because First Steps is only available birth-3yrs and his birthday was fast approaching!

Throughout the first few weeks we found it most helpful to get A into a routine, he seemed to do best when he could anticipate what was going to be happening. Over all, he transitioned into our home with ease and has been happy here ever since!

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, I wrote a blog post about the process we went through, you can read it here. Have questions about foster care or being a foster parent? Drop them in the comments below or connect with me on instagram @theaubreyfam I would love to talk about it more!

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