When we were in the waiting phases to become foster parents, I scoured the internet for resources. I did not find much, so I wanted to share with you what I found to be helpful, and what we implemented in creating our room for our foster children.
- Keep it neutral – We are licensed for kids aged 0-4 so our room needed to fit a baby and a kindergartener. Boy or girl. Trucks and dolls. Even if you have chosen to only foster a specific gender, it is common that when they call you with your foster sons baby sister, you might just say yes. It is better to keep it neutral and then add in the touches that make it special for the child occupying it. We painted ours a very soft blue. We went with an adventure/dream mixed them. The clouds and stars keep it nursery like. The arrows, and black and white bolder prints give it a bit of an edge.
- Clothing – Do not go overboard. We made the mistake of stocking up in clothes all sizes for both genders. Saying yes to every friend that offered hand me downs. What we ended up with was a very full closet with too much clutter. Recently I went through things and kept a couple of items for each age and gender, then donated the rest. Our agency provides $50 per month reimbursements for clothing and until the child is with you, it is hard to know if a 2t is actually going to fit that 2 year old. So I recommend wait on the clothing, and if you want to stock up on anything, it should be toiletries.
- Speaking of toiletries, baby soap, lotion, diaper cream, shampoo, detangler, toothbrushes, toothpaste, diapers and wipes. I would keep a stock of a couple of each of these. Especially if you are open to siblings. With 4 little ones I feel like I am going through this stuff so fast!
- Beds. We have two cribs and 1 toddler bed. Depending on your age range and number of children you have at one time, this of course will change. We started with 1 crib and the toddler bed, but quickly needed a second crib. We also have the pack and play set up in our room as a secondary sleep spot. Our foster care bedroom is a shared room, and sometimes when a baby is up screaming at night we keep him/her in our room vs waking up the sibling! Also have a variety of bed sheets. We have girly ones, and boyish ones, as well as a reversible duvet on the bed that is blue and white on one side, and pink purple and blue on the other side.
- Stuffed animals/Blankies- Something that kids can pick right away and find some comfort in. We keep several stuffed animals/dolls, and a stack of blankets that they pick and then take with them when they go.
- Toys and Books – Todd Park makes some great books. Specifically “We belong together” It explains living with another family in simple children’s terms. My biological daughters really enjoy it as well, and it helped them to understand what foster care/adoption was in the beginning. Don’t overload your house with toys, but you definitely want something on hand to keep the kids busy, and distracted while you are talking to the social worker who dropped them off to you. You can always go out and purchase more appropriate toys for their interests, and let them pick some out. What these kids are going through is very tough, and if you can let them pick out toys, decor and such to personalize their bedroom, it really helps them to feel more comfortable and like they have control in an other wise “out of their hands” situation.
That is all you really have to have on hand. You usually have some sort of notice so you can go out, and get anything else necessary that you will need.
I have added my video tour of our foster care room, so you can see how we set it up! If you have any other additions you think I should add to the list, please leave them in the comments below! Have fun preparing the room. It was funny how I “nested” just like I did when I was pregnant and expecting.