10 Things Every Foster Parents Need

10 Things Every Foster Parent NeedsDuring our first placements on our foster care journey, we have learned that there a several things you really need to have on hand. I’m going to share our top 10 things that foster parents need.

  1. Clothes – Every list on every blog I read about foster care stated that a few clothes in every size is a must. I didn’t realize this until our second placement came in and his suitcases with all of his clothes accidentally got sent with our other kids on visitation. The daycare frantically tried to get them back before we got there, but it just didn’t
    This is just one box of clothes that we have stored away.

    This is just one box of clothes that we have stored away.

    happen. If we would’ve had just a few items of clothing in his size, we wouldn’t have had to run to Walmart and buy him outfits for the weekend until his suitcases and our other two kiddos got back.

  2. Toiletries – It’s always best to have some shampoo, conditioner, tooth brushes, tooth paste and other bathroom items on hand. You never know when you will get a call, so it’s not ideal to have to worry about going out to Walmart to get all the toiletries you need wile you are awaiting your new arrival (and let’s face it, we will probably forget one or two things we need anyways, so it’s best to just have it one hand at all times).
  3. Credit Card/Gift Cards – I hadn’t really thought of this one until one of my foster mommy friends mentioned it to me when I told her I was working on this blog. This is a GREAT idea! Having a credit card or a gift card that is completely dedicated to JUST new placements will really save on money. When you DO have to run out and get things, especially clothes, you won’t have to worry about prices if you can just pay with a credit card or gift card, you will get reimbursed for it, but you won’t have to worry about it coming out of your pocket right then, you can just pay your credit card off when you get your reimbursement. If you set aside $20 a month (or less!) to put on a gift card to Walmart (or target, whatever store is of our liking), you will be ready to buy whatever you need for your new little one! No more sweating your finances! (as long as you can control your spending if you get a credit card, this works for several people I know, but if you don’t have self-control, it’s probably best to go with the gift cards.)
  4. Mentors – This one may seem a little strange, but it’s an extremely important one! Jonathan and I were lucky and had some friends who were foster parents (they still are fosters and they are stinkin’ awesome) that we could talk to when we were praying about taking this huge step. They have been with us every step of the way and they have never turned us away when we had a question or needed to vent. One specific instance that comes to mind is when I ran into one of them while going to sign our first two Angels up for daycare. She was picking one of her kids up and helped me watch the kids while I got paperwork and let me cry my eyes out while I told her how awful the day had been and how I didn’t know if I could do this. She helped me so much that day. Mentors are important!
  5. Empathy – Being able to feel for and understand (or at least try) what these children are going through is so very important. They are scared and feel alone, and they may not know how to process these feelings by themselves. We are there to fill the role of a parent to these children, and to affectivly parent them, we need to understand that they have been stripped of everything that they have known and loved.
  6. A “Poker Face” – I had a very hard time obtaining a “poker face,” because even if I never say how I feel, you can almost always read it on my face. A lot of these kids have came from horrible backgrounds, and when they come to confide in you, it’s very important to keep cool and not let your emotions take over. This doesn’t even apply to just the kids; this applies to when you have to meet the parents and this applies to case workers as well. Sometimes you won’t have a grateful parent who thanks you for taking care of their child while they get all of the ducks in a row, no, most of the time you will get someone who is constantly trying to turn their child against you, and ultimately, in some way, makes your job as a foster parent harder. There are also times that you will have case workers that you just don’t like, or you feel like that don’t care enough. We’ve had to use our poker face A LOT.

    We have several pairs of shoes and pack-n-plays stored away in one of our rooms.

    We have several pairs of shoes and pack-n-plays stored away in one of our rooms.

  7. Patience – You will need SO, SO, SO much patience when you enter into foster care. The first two weeks with our placements are always the hardest. We are used to kids behaving and following directions, but not all kids are taught to do that. We have had one child who was taught to not respect women, so they did not listen to me at all. This makes things especially hard on me, considering I am the one that gets them ready for daycare and/or school every morning. I remember breaking down in tears with our first placements because nothing I did to try to get them to behave worked. I had never had a kids that didn’t listen to anyone until them, but it didn’t stay that way. We were patient and waited out the storm and when they returned home they were two of the greatest kids I had ever met!
  8. Love – This one should be self-explanatory, but I’m going to cover it anyways. It’s one of the most important things a foster parent needs. We need to be able to love the children that come into our care unconditionally. Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes you want to call the case worker and give up. Sometimes you want to scream at them, but most of the time, they will melt your heart. They are the most precious kids in the world, they have been through so much, and they are longing to feel love from a caring adult. They need you to be that loving and caring adult. They need you to be there. They need your shoulder to cry on, they need your arms to hug them, andLice Treatment Foster Care they need your heart to love them. While they are away from their families, they need to feel loved and treated as if they were your own. If you are like me, this won’t be too hard. I fall in love easily with these kids, and if it weren’t for my soft heart, it would be hard to do the job I need to do for these kids.
  9. Lice Treatment Kits/Home Remedies – I actually didn’t even think about this one until tonight. Lice is killer, and so many kids have it when they come into care. If you’ve ever had to deal with lice, then you know how hard it is to treat. You can kill one set of bugs, but if you don’t get the nits right away, then you have to start all over again. It’s a very vicious cycle. You will want to keep lice treatment kits or olive oil (which is what we use if we ever get a young child with lice) on hand for when you get a child with lice – nip those things in the bud!
  10. Support – You HAVE to have a support system if you are going to dive into the world of foster care. I know that we could not do it with out our church, friends and family. Our families have been troopers through this experience so far. They are willing to get finger prints, background checks and go buy whatever we need just so they can help us care for these precious kiddos. I know that we would go crazy if our parents didn’t offer to take the kids to dinner so we could have a date night (which usually consists of napping…), and we would NEVER get anything out of the church services if someone at church didn’t offer to let the kids sit with them. We have been surrounded by awesome people who are willing to help us in anyway. They bring clothes and food and literally anything else we may need for the kids whenever we need them to. We have had the absolute BEST support system, and we couldn’t do it without them, and if we have ever forgot to say thank you, THANK YOU, YOU ARE THE BEST AND WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    Our awesome family!

    Our awesome family!

Just to show how awesome our family has been through this, let me tell you just one thing they have done for us. We found out that our first placements would be leaving the Friday before Christmas around Thanksgiving. Everyone had already bought them presents, so we just had a special Christmas just for them. Well, the week of Christmas, we got a new placement. We told everyone not to worry about getting presents for him, because they had bought C and J so much. We told them that we would go get them a few things to open at each place. Well, our family just wasn’t going to have that. They all went out and bought Rollie-Pollie some Christmas presents. They are so awesome! They are making this little boy’s Christmas the best ever! They go above and beyond to help us, and they always love on these kids like they are theirs. We are so blessed with a loving, supporting family!
Have you thought about becoming a foster parent? What’s holding you back?
Are you a foster parent? What do you always make sure you have before getting a new placement?
Also, a big THANK YOU to our mentors The Greens and the Longs!
Another Thank you to Melissa Long for giving me suggestions for my list!

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