So, now that the prospect of having kids in the house is becoming more and more real I'm both super excited and a bit scared. Make that terrified. I've done a lot of childcare but I've never been a parent before and I'm scared I'll be awful at it. Is this normal? Did anyone else go through this?
I'm also getting rather frustrated with this system. (It's early, I know, but still.) We literally spent thousands of dollars getting our house up to their standards so that we would pass our safety inspection, which we did, but then we were told we have to get the kid(s) room completely set up before our next inspection in November. That's five weeks away. Say what? No one told us this previously, and whatever happened to that foster parenting is free spiel?
The bottom line is, we have five weeks to acquire a crib, bunk beds, mattresses, car seats, etc, all with a severely drained savings account. I'm starting to really worry about how we're going to do it. It would have been nice if they had told us this at the beginning.
Mother to one dd .
rs11 - I think most new parents of all varieties are terrified. I know I am. At the same time, I am excited, nervous, and tired of waiting.
As far as foster parenting being free, I was always told the opposite. LOL. I was warned to expect monthly reimbursements to be delayed several months and warned about the expense of passing the safety inspection. I suppose it is still cheaper than private adoption.
As for the crib, carseat, etc. I solicited donations from friends and family. Luckily I know many people who are already finished with having babies and are happy to pass down supplies. Admittedly, since I started telling people that we are adopting from foster care, now I have to constantly answer questions about how things are going. That is a little annoying, I don't need constant reminders about how long this process is taking. I also think you could borrow car seats and cribs from friends who aren't using them at the moment for your inspection. This way you have a little more time to save for these things. I think it would be great to have a network of foster parents who share supplies.
Trying to adopt from foster care in Los Angeles.
As the PP suggested, see if you can't borrow the things you need, just for the safety inspection. It seems rather silly for them to expect you to buy beds and carseats if you dont even know the age of the child. I was licensed for 0-4 and the carseat i needed for the infant i got would not have been what i needed for a four year old. Same goes for the bed. And at the time i certainly didnt have a basement or other place to store unnecessary items (we were in an apt.) When i got the call for my son, i stopped at the store and bought an infant seat (though the agency was planning on loaning me one til i could purchase one...i didnt realize that at the time) I did have a crib but it was a portable folding one so i could fold it up when not in use (not a pack n play but a mini crib suitable for up to 50 pounds)
I think everyone feels scared, so yeah thats normal!
Shop thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist!!! Aim for safe and adequate. You can replace whatever you want down the road - it doesn't need to be House Beautiful yet. Neither the inspector nor the child will care. Little kids don't know the difference, and bigger ones will love participating in the choosing. In fact, some good advice I got pre-placement, was to plan a shopping trip with a new child, maybe day 2 or 3, to choose their own bedding and some minor room decorations. Helps them feel that this is their ''own" space - that it is really home.
I spent maybe a total of $200 - for a crib, twin bed, dresser, infant swing, high chair, pack 'n' play, changing table and I don't remember what all else. When a 6 YO girl was placed with me, I found a sweet girly bedroom set for her. And 2 years later, when her brother joined us, I got him a cool race car bed. Very much specific to their individual tastes and personalities. The crib (and other baby equipment) was used for a couple babies in between, but sold at my own yard sale when it became clear that it wouldn't be needed again.
And yes, abject terror is a perfectly appropriate emotion.
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
Well from my experience, if the workers like you then they will find ways to make it happen. If they don't like you then they will throw up all kinds of roadblocks. Where I live, there are even programs to get free cribs and carseats for some foster parents. So, just be wary. If they're putting up lots of roadblocks then they might be subtly trying to get rid of you. Just be careful.
I say that because if you have workers who do not like you, then your foster parenting experience will be hell. So if you're getting that vibe from them it might be a good idea to check out other options (another worker, another agency, another path to parenthood, etc).
There are laws, sure. But in my experience, the workers only obey the law when they want to. They actually legally have a lot of leeway and can ignore any of the licensing regulations if they want to. There's some clause that basically says they have full authority to determine if a home is a "suitable foster home" and can license a home that doesn't meet basic requirements. They issue waivers and special licenses all the time for their friends.
We never needed the bed or carseat until the actual child was in our home. So we could always just go get it the day of the phone call. There' a big cost to that, but we always knew that in a month or so we'd get a reimbursement check from the state that would probably cover the costs.
I'm not trying to scare you or put a damper on things, it's just that you should go into this with your eyes open. You may very well need to buy the crib and carseat now for your licensing but keep in mind that if they continue to change the rules then it's probably not about the rules; it's probably something else going on.
All that said, you can get a crib off craigslist for cheap. Buy a new mattress though. Those are only about $50. Start small if you have to and just get one bed instead of a crib and a bunk bed. Personally, I always buy carseats brand-new because people sell used ones and they lie about recalls or car accidents, etc. Luckily, you can find inexpensive carseats at places like BigLots and Tuesday Morning. Or you can borrow them from a friend just for the inspection. There's no rule about proving ownership as far as I know. You should just install it in your car and that's that.
Honestly, it's very sad, but I have yet to meet any foster parents in my area who know how to properly install carseats or use the right ones for the ages. It's incredibly depressing actually as there is absolutely no one truly monitoring carseat use! My last licensing renewal they just wanted photos of the carseats emailed to them. No proof of ownership, no proof of knowledge on how to install, and no one actually came out to look at our cars. Pathetic. I could have just gone down to target, taking a picture and emailed it without having bought the carseat at all.
Sorry, I'm a little angry right now as I'm sure you can tell. After 3 years as a foster parent I closed my home. And this is why. The system is a joke. The workers are so lazy/overworked that a role of the dice is more certain than the law.
My last licensing renewal they just wanted photos of the carseats emailed to them. No proof of ownership, no proof of knowledge on how to install, and no one actually came out to look at our cars. Pathetic. I could have just gone down to target, taking a picture and emailed it without having bought the carseat at all.
They want to see your car seat? Wow. In my state, they measure the child's bedroom window and talk about Jesus for an hour.
Have you heard of Freecycle? You search Freecycle for your particular area. People post things they need and things they wish to give away. Then there is an email exchange to arrange for pick up. The recipient picks up. This might be good to outfit yourselves for some of the things you need.
We were told we would need to have things set up in advance of a placement, but we didn't because of the differing ages (as previous posters have mentioned). Once we had a newborn (1 day old) and another time, a 5 year old. So that is very different in terms of supplies. I always posted on our local websites for free resources and got donations. On a couple of occasions, we borrowed items. Newborns don't need things for very long before they outgrow them. Although we were told we needed to be ready in advance, when there is a child that they need to place quickly, the social workers seem less concerned about everything being ready in advance. We also have a drop-in centre for families in our community with some free items. Good luck!
We were licensed for 0-5 first time and 0-6 second time. Neither time did I have a crib ready. The first time I had a full size bed. We live 4 miles from a 24 hour Walmart. They knew I'd buy a crib the second we needed one. Which I did both times I got a baby, never needed that full size bed we had ready.
I did have car seats, but I am a car seat freak, so that's why. I have three kids and currently have down-sized to only having 8 car seats and my oldest isn't even in one anymore.
Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.
Thanks everyone! I'm doing much better now. We've had our homestudy and are just waiting on our license. We did have to go out and purchase a crib and beds. They had to have them in the house for the final inspection during the homestudy. Well, we bought the beds anyway; a friend passed on the convertible crib her daughter recently outgrew.
We've got one car seat, for 9 months+ plus (also donated by the lady), and the LW said that would do and we can buy an infant seat later if we need one.
Mother to one dd .