Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
Tonight I wanted to talk about the phone call that starts each of our adventures: the call asking, “Can you take a child?”
Each time we take in a new child, it begins with a simple phone call from someone who works in the Placement department at CPS (for a reminder on the foster care terms, see my post, “What Does That Mean?”). The Placement department is in charge of finding foster homes for children who are being removed from their own homes. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I’m sure they have lists of foster families in the county and then they go through to see who has specified that they can take children of a certain gender or age, and then call around to those families to see who can take the child that day. For example, in my house, for a while now, my parents have had it specified that we only have room for girls, simply because the boys’ bedroom just isn’t big enough for another bed, but the girls’ room is. In our house, we also have a rule that we don’t take in children older than our youngest child. So right now, the youngest in our family are the twins, who are five. This means that our family is listed as only being able to take in girls under five years old. At the time we had taken in our last little foster sister, we had been listed as being able to take in girls under four years, which is how we ended up taking in a one-year-old little girl.
So after the Placement people have called a foster family, and they have room and can take in a child, then the foster family has only a short period of time to prepare before a CPS caseworker brings the child to the house. Usually it’s a matter of a few hours at most. There’s often just enough time for our family to go to our storage unit and take out the extra furniture we keep in there (beds, cribs, high chairs, car seats, etc.) before the new kid arrives.
Then it’s only a matter of time before there’s a knock on the front door and the new foster child has arrived at their new home. After that, there’s no more time to plan. You suddenly have another kid in the house who is scared, feeling alone, and is unsure of what’s going on. Then it’s all about making their adjustment as easy as possible and making them feel welcome in the new home.
You would think that it would become easier to go through this routine after you’ve done it a few times, but each time the situation is a little different and you’re never quite prepared for what will happen with a new child.
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My family has been doing foster care since I was three years old. I'm the only biological child in my family, though I now have five permanent siblings. Having nineteen siblings over the course of my lifetime has been an incredible experience, and I'm hoping that by sharing some of the ups and downs of being the only bio kid in a foster family, other foster families or people looking into doing foster care will be able to learn a bit of what life can be like. I also like to share what life is like on my journey to becoming a published author, as well as where my schooling and career choice are taking me.