It has been exactly one month since my placement left me. I miss her so much! I pray for her each day and hope that she is happy and safe. The hardest thing for me has been the “unknown.” Not knowing how baby girl is doing, how she is adjusting back to her home, and just all of the new things she has learned how to do (crawl, say words, eat solid foods… all of the baby things!). Two days ago, I text my mom… I was sort of emotional realizing that baby girl turned 7 months that day. She’s growing up… I’m so proud of her! I have not heard from her family, I don’t know if I ever will and that is hard also.
I learned a lot during this first placement in regards to dealing with Social Services. What to do… and what NOT to do! LOL! So being transparent (for anyone who may be considering fostering), foster parents do not make a lot of money. Actually, you do not make any money… when you get paid, you are basically repaying yourself the money you put out to care the child. I learned during this journey that you do not get paid for the child until the end of the next month. To explain, baby girl was placed in my home on 9 July. I received a statement from the state on 4 August for the time period baby was with me in July. The state doesn’t cut checks for care until 23 August… and I didn’t get payment until around 27 August… for care I gave in July. So, if you are waiting for money to help care the child… DON’T! It does not come quickly. Also, I learned if the child has a court date coming up… do NOT make any major purchases. I pre-paid daycare for the month of August, and just received the refund for care yesterday (9/6). The state does not pay daycare until the end of the month. So now I know to wait until I know the child will be with me, to pay everything up front. Lesson learned :-). Foster care is great, but financially it can be draining (like actually being a parent) so I just want to let you know that. I feel like folks don’t like talking about the financial aspects of foster care because there is a stigma that foster parents do it for the money. While there may be some folks that do… the majority do not. I am just talking about it here so that if you are thinking about it… you will be more prepared than I was.
Most people ask when I will get another placement. I received a call a few days after baby left to place a 10 year old girl with me. I declined for two reasons. One was totally selfish, I was so looking forward to sleeping in that Friday morning (they called Thursday evening) and I really just wanted to relax that weekend. It was my first weekend without baby and I just wanted to chill. The second reason was the fact that a 10 year old is quite different from a 6 month old and an 18 year old. I would actually have to find something for her to do. LOL! School didn’t start for two weeks and most summer camps were winding down for the summer… I just didn’t want to deal with (and not know how to) having to entertain her for 2 weeks. I am still waiting for a call for my next placement, but I have gone back to normal life.
I am back to running with my run group at 0’dark 30 in the mornings. I am also training for a marathon, so I am able to get my long runs in without the pressure of getting back home to relieve a sitter and also being able to rest after a long run. I’ve been able to go out with friends, go to the movies, and go get my nails done at the drop of a dime. It’s great, but once you have a little one in your life… all of these things although great just feel… “OKAY”. Also, to keep your foster license you have to take training. So I have taken some classes with DSS which have been actually very informative. Recently, a woman in small group gave me four bags of clothes for a baby girl. So I have been organizing clothes and just making sure I am prepared (as I can be).
Lastly, my birthday is this month! So I have been planning a small party. I am a detailed person, so this has been taking quite a bit of my time. I’m happy to have the time to devote to this and looking forward to spending time with my friends. So cheers to free time, but also waiting for the next call. I was getting anxious, but I was reminded while washing baby clothes last weekend that God sees this little one and knows who she is and when she is coming. I am just praying for her in this between time for whatever she has to go through to get to me. That God will keep her spirit strong that this won’t break her and that she will know that I am a safe refuge for her when she gets here.
That’s what I been up to!