I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one morning when I came upon a friend’s post that she shared from a group she is in. It said how sometimes foster moms get jealous when friends rush to help a mom out by bringing them meals for several nights after a new baby is brought home. How it’s very hard as a foster mom to only have hours to prepare for a new child or two, unlike a 9 month pregnancy.
It hit me then that this was so true. I’m not a foster mom, so I just never really thought of it. But, how many times have I heard of friends getting kids placed in their homes to only wonder how they did it? There was no action on my part, or really any way I reached out. Until I saw my friend’s post. Then almost immediately, I had two situations come up.
A friend of mine recently was placed with a newborn. During our conversations, she would say how overwhelmed she was, or how it’s been so hard, or that she’s plain exhausted. I didn’t fly into action like I should have, but another of our mutual friends put together a meal train for her. I immediately signed up for a day and was frustrated with myself that I hadn’t thought to do that sooner.
Another friend recently got approved to be a foster home and was almost immediately placed with 14 month old twins. Add that to their other 3 children under the age of 7, and this can rock anyone’s world. I texted her to see how things were and she said, “Ask me tomorrow around 4. It’s my first day alone with all five.” I immediately texted back, “I’ll bring you dinner.” When I brought it that next day, the look of relief on their faces was apparent. I had saved one tiny little bit of sanity that day.
Ways to Help
Many of us probably have friends who are foster parents. After talking with my friend, she shed a little more light on placement of children. These families are being guardians for children who have no place to go, who drop everything to try to make them feel safe and secure. Foster parents literally get the call and within hours need to make sure they have a place for the child to sleep, clothes, formula if it’s a baby, doctors appointments, and evaluations.
Kids can end up crying for the first few days because they are scared. Many of the kids may be struggling with health issues, which results in a big disruption of their family life, sleeping habits, work schedules and more. And it’s not just a one time thing. With each placement starts a new life situation for the family. My friend said, “It’s just mentally overwhelming because every child is different and you just never know what to expect.”
There are more ways to help than just bringing them dinner, but that’s a great place to start. It doesn’t have to be a home cooked meal, it just needs to be something so they can take their minds off wondering what their new, expanded family will eat.
-Prepare freezer meals ahead of time so you have something at the ready
-Pick up their favorite meal from a local restaurant (BBQ travels really well)
-Grab a ready to eat rotisserie chicken and pre-packaged sides from the grocery store
-Make a double batch on your weekly menu and bring them half
-Order pizza and have it delivered
-Go hang out with them during the day to help with the kids
-Offer to come help with laundry or cleaning
-Be an extra set of hands
Don’t Make it Complicated
There are lots of ways we can help. I, for one, tend to make excuses, like I have little kids and it would just add more chaos, or I’m too busy. Oftentimes, we don’t have to make it complicated. Foster parents have an incredibly exhausting task, yet it is so rewarding. When they get a new placement, we need to be the village that helps them through those trying times, and sometimes that means being another present adult during the day!
We can all spare a few minutes, time or extra dollars for someone else. We can spread kindness. And one great place to start is with those heroes we call foster parents.
Since I’m not a foster parent, I want to know, how else can we help you out?