The first 72 hours

Our foster children were placed in our home. Now what? It was getting dark, I ordered a pizza for dinner. Something easy and who doesn’t like pizza, right? Our oldest sat on her bed, looked around her room and said “I love this!” However she was not going to put on pjs! No way! At this point I was picking my battles. For the first few nights she piled books on her bed and wanted to sleep with every stuffed animal in site.

Their first night in care was with another foster family and then they were transferred to us because we were closer to her school. The previous night at their first placement foster mom told me it was almost 4 am before they got to sleep. The first night is a time to just meet each other and slowly build trust. Don’t go too hard on the rules. Yes, they will need to follow a schedule eventually but for now, we survive. I had just finished putting on the baby’s pajamas as my husband came up the stairs. He got to meet our girls, we were instant parents. The most scariest and excited moment. The youngest just stared at you and had not made a peep. We weren’t sure if she even talked yet. The oldest was protective and mothered her little sister. She often worried about adult things like laundry and making sure things were out of reach. We always reminded her to let us worry about her little sister while she just worried about being a kid and enjoying life.

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My husband read the oldest a few books and then it was time to at least try to go to bed. The oldest cried and screamed. We watched with a baby monitor that she didn’t do anything that would hurt herself. It was a rough night to say the least, she kept coming into our room and this lasted for weeks. She was used to sleeping in a hotel room, all in one bed together so sleeping alone was a major adjustment. The youngest at 18 months would not go to sleep unless she was held and rocked, as soon as she hit the mattress she was up and at it again! Night time took the most work and required a ton of patience.

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We received gift cards to Walmart for initial clothing, shoes and diapers. This was extremely helpful as most of the time they come with absolutely nothing! The police did take their stroller from the hotel room and a few blankets. These blankets went straight to the wash as they heavily smelled of smoke. We kept the stroller on the porch to air out. I ended up pitching the baby’s shoes as they were unwearable. We took the girls shopping and let them pick out a few extra things like hair bows and Frozen hats. Their hair was beautiful. It took a few weeks for the smoke smell to get out and I had to learn how to maintain long, curly hair.

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Through out the day the girls were very hungry. The oldest would obsess over the next snack before she had even finished her first one. The youngest was extremely picky and only wanted junk food and absolutely no water! She also hated the high chair. We had a lot of work to do.

They were congested and overall ill. When kids are taken into care they are required to be seen by a doctor within the first 72 hours. You are provided with documentation that they are in your care, however most places will still call Children Services to verify. Most likely you will also not have their medicaid card yet but places are usually understanding and they can back pay. They were seen at a clinic who thankfully has walk in hours and prescribed antibiotics, nose spray and allergy relief. We picked these up from the pharmacy and paid out of pocket, we saved the receipts to turn in to be reimbursed.

On the 3rd day we had meet and greet with the girls father. Here we would let dad know how the kids are doing and he could maybe give us more information on the girls such as likes, dislikes and allergies. After the meet and greet dad was allowed supervised visit time. The agency would then transport them back to our house when the visit was over. It may very from county to county but here foster parents are required to provide up to at least 50% of the transportation.

Our oldest was also in school, we had to call and explain to the school she was taken into care. We came in to meet the teacher who loved her and was so understanding and loving. We’ve gone from no kids to straight to kindergarten.

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