The Arrival of our First Foster Child

We got a call on a Saturday afternoon. It was 3:30 PM. It was a caseworker from our county asking if we were available to take in a baby girl that evening. She had left a message. She wasn’t positive the child would be removed from her home, but it was likely. I told Adam about the message fully expecting to have a very long conversation about it. Not because I thought he wouldn’t be up for it. Only because this was uncharted territory and we had plans. We had plans that night, we had plans the next day, we had plans the following week and the following month and beyond. All of our plans did not involve a small child because, well, we hadn’t planned on having one that particular month. The conversation with Adam was not a long one. His response to the invitation was more of a, “Really? Oh my God. Sure.” Adam is just awesome like that.

I called the caseworker back. I asked a few questions. “How old was she?”

They weren’t sure exactly. 

“How long might she stay with us?”

They weren’t sure exactly.

“When will you know if she is in fact being removed from her home?”

They weren’t sure exactly.

With all that information, how could we say no?!

I told the caseworker to keep us posted and hung up. Two hours later she was back on the phone, “the baby is on her way.” Ten minutes later they knocked on the door.

Luckily we had a few donated toys on hand. I pulled them out of our trunk and the baby with the perma pout on her face slowly started to engage. After 30 or 40 minutes and one signed release form later, the caseworkers handed over her diaper bag and car seat and left. I was alone in our house with a baby and without a clue in the world what to do next! It was now 6:30 pm.

We had nowhere for her to sleep that night.

We had no sippy cups.

We had no extra diapers or wipes. (She had arrived with two diapers, 4 outfits and a blankie.)

Most importantly, we had no experience!

It’s kind of an awkward thing, having two caseworkers you don’t know walk into your not-totally-clean-house-because-you-weren’t-expecting-this with a child in arms who is about to be in your care. They came through the door. I rubbed the little girl on the arm and asked her how she was doing. Wait. Really? “How are you doing?!” To a baby who probably can’t speak and is in the arms of a stranger after suddenly being taken from the only life she’d ever known.  I wasn’t off to a great start. Ten minutes later I was at it again when I asked her in my limited Spanish if she wanted a cookie. “Tienes un caballo?” The caseworker informed me that in reality I actually told her that she was now the proud owner of a horse. Shoot! I was zero for two!

In the weeks and now months that followed, it quickly became evident that when it comes to parenting, you don’t actually need that much. You need lots and lots of love. And, if you want to have a ton of fun, a cardboard box!

We have not yet had children of our own, so I am wondering what you guys think of the standard 9-month pregnancy? Does it seem like forever? Is it a necessary period for preparation? Would you make the pregnancy period longer or shorter if you could? Do you have any advice for a different opening sentence for next time – something other than “how are you?!” (omg).



“Cause all I know is we said, “Hello.”

And your eyes look like coming home

All I know is a simple name

Everything has changed” – Taylor Swift


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The Privilege of Being Mommy | love and a cardboard box

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