After preparing to foster a teen, and spending five whole days being a mom to a teenager in foster care, I’m sharing what I would do again, and what I would do differently.
I’m so glad I…
- Made a Target registry and Amazon wish list BEFORE she got here. I can’t thank people enough for all their donations!
- Only accepted Venmo donations once she arrived. Teens are going to need things they don’t want published on a wish list.
- Set up bedding even though everyone told me not to. Last week was stressful and I can’t imagine having to quickly pick out bedding in the midst of all of it.
- Hung NOTHING on the walls. It was a perfect blank slate and we printed tons of pictures at Walgreens for her to hang up.
- Put the dry erase calendar in the hallway. It has been PERFECT as we navigate so. many. worker. visits. (Case worker, DHS worker, adoption worker, agency worker, and then some therapy services)
- Registered for board games and puzzles. I’m SOOO glad I did this. Decision fatigue is REAL the first week together, and it’s really not helpful for them to pick out every tiny thing.
- Stocked up on toiletries. Let me reiterate: decision fatigue is real. I let her pick out shampoo and conditioner, but I provided everything else.
- Let my mom set up a meal train. It has been SO helpful. Other kind humans also gave us money to have food delivered. It is NECESSARY after long days of appointments.
I wish I would have…
- Prepared more books for teens (just talking normal chapter books like The Hunger Games).
- Prepared an after school bin with adult coloring books, puzzle books, a chapter book, snacks, etc.
- Gathered more crock pot recipes. I only have two I really love (please help me!)
- Purchased some pajamas and a robe for myself. If you’re single and you’ve never been a mom before, your pajamas may not be modest enough to make breakfast in or be around the house in.
Other things that helped TREMENDOUSLY through the transition were taking two days off of work, focusing on the small moments of “normal,” and texting other foster moms. I CLUNG to a quote by @fosterthefamilyblog. She talks about how the first week of placement is NOT your new normal. It is one of the hardest parts, but you’ll find a new normal.
Things that were hard I wasn’t expecting included figuring out afternoon transportation. It was really stressful. Like SO stressful. When Blue was stranded, my students gave me a group hug because they knew I was on the verge of a meltdown. I love those humans. I also felt pretty panicky the first couple days. A mom who has been fostering for 20 years told me she feels that way with every placement at first. You just want to make sure they’re okay and getting settled, and it’s all just a lot.
But, honestly, every tiny preparation I made helped tremendously this week as Blue and I transitioned. Thinking through things, having backup plans, collecting extras — it all helped relieve stress!
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mackenzie. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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