THE FOSTER CARE COMMUNITy
Earlier this month, we shared with you the story of local police officer, Erika, who took in the newborn baby of a family she had met while on the job. Within just 24 hours, Erika made the life-altering decision to pick the baby up from the hospital and would care for him for the next 3 months. This is fostering - unpredictable and a bit chaotic, but full of love, hope and redemption.
New parents typically spend roughly 9 months preparing for the arrival of their baby. American culture has developed many different ways to celebrate the upcoming birth of a child, including: pregnancy announcements, gender reveal parties, maternity photo-shoots, and fun apps that illustrate a baby's current size and stage of development. Many first-time parents are thrown a baby shower to honor this new chapter, offer love and advice for the parents-to-be, and offset the heavy costs of all the items needed to care for the baby. Additionally, most working parents are able to alert their workplace of their needs ahead of time, and plan for their upcoming maternity or paternity leave.
Welcoming a new foster placement is not as predictable an experience.
A nine-month preparation period is reduced to as little as hours of warning before the child(ren)'s arrival. Foster parents may not even know important details like gender, age, how many children need placing, how many belongings the child is coming with (which, in some cases, is none) and what the child's health and medical needs are. This time can be especially difficult for those fostering their first infant or toddler, who need the same variety of items that are typically provided through a baby shower registry - car seats, strollers, diapers, bottles, formula and high chair are large expenses that a foster parent needs to suddenly pay for. Working parents may have to adjust their work schedules with little to no notice, and quickly plan for childcare assistance.
So how can you support a foster parent who has just welcomed a child (of any age) into their home?
Not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but everyone can do something to support those who do. Visit www.austinangels.com to learn more about how you can start supporting a local foster family!