After what may have felt like a long and tedious paperwork process you have made it to matching! Have you ever heard the phrase “hurry up and wait”? Now that you have hurried through paperwork and completed everything on your end it’s time for your Foster Care Advocate to work on your behalf. For some families, placement can happen within days of certification, but for others, the wait time can feel impossibly long. We encourage you to use the time of waiting to continue to prepare your minds, homes and hearts for the kiddos that will one day call it “home” even if just for a while. Here are some tips or suggestions on how to use the time of waiting to its full potential!
- Continue to Educate Yourselves –there are so many incredible training out there that are geared towards helping you parent children from foster care. Learn from the experiences of those that have gone before you by reading their stories, watching their talks, and engaging in training to help you be prepared. This is also a great time to get ahead on your annual training hours so that when there are extra schedules to accommodate after placement you don’t fall behind. One specific training that would be great to participate in is TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Interventions). Taking an in-person TBRI class will provide you will so many practical tools that when you find yourself needing to use those techniques later on you are ready to jump into action. If you want more specific training ideas reach out to your Foster Care Advocate to see what they suggest!
- Prepare other Kids in the Home – adding children to your home is a big change for everyone. If you have littles in the home they may have a hard time understanding why someone new is sleeping down the hall, calling you mom and dad, and bringing new dynamics to your home. Taking the time to help your children understand why you are welcoming new children into the home, and what their role is as a foster sibling can help empower them and help them feel safe and secure when the big changes come. Build intentional time into your schedules with your children so that it can continue after placement and give them a consistent time to connect with you and talk as they process change.
- Get connected to a Therapist – We encourage our families to seek out therapeutic services for themselves as the Fostering process is a lot to process! Also, it helps normalize therapy for the children and youth in your home that will need to their own therapist. Getting connected and building a relationship with a therapist before placement will allow them to get to know you and then better serve you when there are times of difficulty in the placement. This doesn’t have to be super frequent, but having this relationship established is super beneficial!
- Join a Support Group – it truly does take a village! Find a group of people to walk through this journey with. If you need help locating a support group in your area ask your Foster Care Advocate for help. Lots of times there are churches that host, and if not there may be specific ones offered by Foster Care groups in your area.
- Stay in Communication with your Advocate – not only will Nightlight need to know about any changes in your home or circumstances, but we also desire to serve you even in the waiting. Maintaining communication will help us share updates with you as well regarding the kinds of placements are needed and also what you can do to serve the children and youth in care.
The time of waiting before placement can feel discouraging, but it can be such a sweet time of preparation for everyone in your home and in your support system. If you are in that time of waiting and wanting support reach out to your Foster Care Advocate to see what you could do to take advantage of this time.