Monday, April 7, 2014

The Placement That Almost Was

It's been a little while since I've written any type of update on our foster care journey, but there wasn't much to tell. Until recently that is.
After all of the stress and frustration of our licensing process, and the fact that it took 5 months to complete, we were completely expecting some sort of feeling of accomplishment or arrival. A feeling that the stress was finally to an end and now we were on to the fun part. Except, we were never told that we were officially licensed, so we kept waiting and waiting to hear something...anything.
And then on Tuesday of last week, I received a call from our licencing rep. who called to tell me that everything had been submitted and we just needed to wait on them to file all of our paperwork. Good news! Then she asked if I had a few minutes to talk about a possible placement. She explained that they had a sibling group that needed to be moved to a foster-to-adopt home and wanted us to consider taking them. I was completely shocked because: 1.we were receiving our first placement call and we weren't even licensed. 2. it was more kids than we had planned on taking. And 3. the kids were a little older than we had originally said we wanted. I started thinking about car seat arrangements, schools, bedrooms, clothes, everything that we hadn't planned on.  I told her that we would think about it, and because the kids didn't need moved for several months, we had time to make a decision.

So, Wednesday comes and I'm at the grocery store and my phone rings again. I didn't answer it because I didn't recognize the number....but now I wish I had. I listened to the voice mail and it was the placement coordinator asking us if we'd take a brand new baby from the hospital and if we said yes, we'd have to be prepared to pick him up that day. I quickly tried to leave the grocery store and call him back. By the time I called (5 minutes later) another family had responded yes and their file had been submitted to the county. The placement coordinator said he would submit our file as well, and said he would respond once he hears something (within an hour or so). He explained that he would text me with a "yes" or "no". So we waited for a text message to come through that would mean the difference between going to sleep that night with a baby in the house, or life continuing as usual. An hour and a half later we received a text message that the county wasn't interested in a second referral, and so someone else had been chosen. We were really disappointed, but didn't really have time to dwell on it. In that same text message, the placement coordinator explained that they had another baby that would be needing a home the next day and wanted to know if we'd take her. Of course we said yes! So once again, our file was submitted and we waited. We were told that court was the next morning and we would hear something around 11/12 or we would hear something around 3/4 depending on when the court hearing would actually be held. I spent all of that evening packing a diaper bag and installing car seats and trying to prep Jordan for the possibility that he'd have to pick up the baby by himself if I wasn't able to leave work quickly enough. I picked out clothes, blankets, toys, books, snacks....everything I could think of that might be needed during the pickup. We were about to get our first placement and I was going to miss it...but I wouldn't be unprepared!

So then Thursday comes and I have to go to work and continue life as usual. We spent all of Thursday waiting for the phone to ring with a "yes" or "no". Again, anticipating that our lives were about the change. Around 1:00 I finally received a text message saying that the county had really liked our file, but they chose another family with more experience. Our placement coordinator assured us that it was great news that the county liked our file, and that it would help if we took on some respite placements to gain more experience.

So after 3 calls and 3 days of ups and downs, we still had no placement. It was a little bit of a relief to have an answer and not be in limbo, but it was incredibly disappointing. We had planned and hoped, but it hadn't worked out. We haven't received any calls in the last couple of days, so we wait. I do feel that we are better prepared for when we actually do get a placement, and for that I'm thankful. Throughout all of these possible placements, we prayed that if these were the children that were supposed to come into our home, that it would work out. We did everything that we could and the rest is left in God's hands...and after that we just have to trust. It's a relief to know that we may have possibly been spared of much more significant heartbreak than the disappointment that we felt. And we're grateful that these babies were placed with the families that they needed. So now we wait and wait a little longer, and keep our phones nearby for the next phone call. And pray for patience and understanding as we try to continue to live our lives.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Baby Essentials

Going from having no children to the possibility of having multiple children can be quite overwhelming when trying to gather supplies. Not to mention the fact that we're accepting children between the ages of newborn-3, and we have no idea how long any of those children will be with us. I've spent the last several months hitting up the thrift store on half priced day to gather clothes and toys, that's how much of a bargain hunter I am ; ) However, a couple of my good friends and my sister all worked together to throw us a shower to help us get some of those bigger items. We were given so much stuff as well as enough gift cards to cover quite a bit of the cost of extras!

Now, I don't intend this post to seem as if these baby items are actually essential. However, I will admit that after being a nanny for 10 years, these items do make taking care of kids a little easier! There are other things that we'll need to purchase, such as a pack and play, swing, and double stroller, but we decided to save those for if/when we actually needed them.

Britax B Agile Stroller

This is seriously one of my favorite strollers ever. It's awesome when carting around a little one and it's super light. It maneuvers really well, due to the swivel wheels (which can also be locked into place), and doesn't feel cumbersome if you're in a crowded store. It has the one hand fold system and locks closed so that it doesn't open before you want it to. It is safe for newborns up to children 55 pounds, which makes this stroller really versatile. Another thing I love about it: it reclines all the way flat so that a sleeping baby can lie down. It's not good for jogging, but it does great for regular walks outside. You can check out the full details HERE

Prince Lionheart BoosterPOD

Since I knew that there was a chance we could get a 2or 3 year old, I knew that there was a possibility that the kiddo would be too big for a highchair, but still too small to sit in a full size kitchen chair. So, I set out to find something that we could use at home, that would double as a portable highchair for a younger child. There were several features that I knew I wanted in a booster seat: I wanted it to strap to a chair so that it wouldn't fall off or slide around, I wanted it to have a harness system to secure a wiggly kid, I wanted it to be comfy, and I wanted it to be light. I quickly found that there weren't a lot of options that met all of that criteria. However, The Prince Lionheart BoosterPOD fit everything I wanted and was prety reasonably priced. You can check out the full details on the product HERE

Ingenuity Chair top Highchair 

Since space is limited in tiny kitchen,  and we aren't sure how long we'll be using a highchair, I wanted to find a highchair that was portable, convertible and didn't take up a ton of room to store. This highchair is actually a brand new product by ingenuity and so far I've been really impressed by it. It straps to any kitchen chair and has 4 different height levels to adjust to the height of your table. It features a 5 point harness to secure even the youngest of kiddos and has 3 reclining levels. The tray is dishwasher safe..which I LOVE! And best of all: this seat grows with your little one and converts to a booster seat to be used by a toddler. You check check out the full details HERE

Dr Brown's Bottles

I am actually not overly picky about bottles and chose these bottles based on the fact that I had experience with them during my nanny years and I knew how to use them! Sounds silly, but I wanted to choose something that I knew I liked and wasn't taking a shot in the dark. Dr Brown's bottles are some of the most popular bottles on the market and are great for babies with sensitive tummies.
You can check out the full details HERE

Baby Italia Convertible Crib 

I have a problem that I call expensive taste without an expensive budget. I wanted so badly to find a Pottery Barn crib without spending Pottery Barn prices! So, I scoured Craigslist for months waiting for a great deal. I knew we needed a convertible crib, because we didn't want to store a crib and swap it out for a bed as soon as a kiddo turned two. After a couple of months of searching, I found this awesome crib for $75! The woman actually threw in a bunch of baby stuff once she learned that we were becoming foster parents, which was awesome! I love this crib because it had the look I was hoping for, and it converts from a crib to a toddler bed and then to a full size bed. You can check out the full details HERE

Infantino Fresh Squeezed Squeeze Station, Pouches, and Spoons

I plan to continue working part time for as long as it makes logistical sense, so I need to be ready to pack up baby food and toddler friendly snacks. We drink a lot of smoothies at our house, so I plan to make homemade baby food as well. This product takes homemade baby food to the next level and makes it portable, disposable and fills it for you! All you do is steam and mash your food, and then the squeeze stations fills the pouches for you. For added convenience, they even have spoons that you can attach to the end of the pouches so that you can spoon feed the baby. You can check out the product details HERE

Skip Hop Grand Central Diaper Bag

Anyone that knows me knows that I have an extreme purse addiction! One of my favorite parts about gathering all of our baby gear, was picking out a diaper bag. This diaper bag is not only super cute, but it's functional, organized, and is big enough to accommodate packing for more than one child. It has 3 divided sections, 11 pockets, and 2 insulated pockets for bottles and sippy cups. It has a fleece lined pocket, made especially for sunglasses, a phone pocket, and comes with a cushioned changing pad. And because it is made by skip hop, it features their special stroller straps that make securing the diaper bag to your stroller super easy. The icing on the cake is the fact that it doesn't look like a diaper bag! You can check out the product details HERE

I'm sure I'll need to update this list a year from now, but hopefully we're off to a good start. Feel free to comment with any items that you felt were particularly helpful with little ones, foster or not!