Episode 3

July 05, 2024


Preparing Our Home for Our First Foster Child

Preparing Our Home for Our First Foster Child
Fostering Together
Preparing Our Home for Our First Foster Child

Jul 05 2024 | 00:22:50


Show Notes

Welcome back to the Fostering Together podcast! In today's episode, we dive into the exciting yet challenging process of preparing our home for our very first foster child. Whether you're a seasoned foster parent or just considering opening your home, this episode is packed with insights and practical tips to help you feel ready for any situation.

Join Tracy and me as we recount our journey from getting approved to welcoming our first placement. We discuss the emotional rollercoaster of waiting for a placement, the logistics of setting up a child-friendly environment, and the importance of having a well-stocked toy room. Tracy shares her expertise in creating a gender-neutral space and the essential items every foster home should have on hand. Stay tuned to hear about our experiences, the ups and downs, and the heartwarming moments that make fostering such a rewarding experience.

Timeline Summary:

- [00:00] - Introduction to the episode and the topic of preparing for a foster child.
- [00:40] - Tracy and Brendan discuss the break between episodes and getting back to routine.
- [01:08] - The early stages of preparing for fostering and Tracy's pre-approval preparations.
- [02:22] - Deciding on the age range for fostering and initial steps taken post-approval.
- [04:15] - The emotional complexity of waiting for a placement and the anticipation involved.
- [06:54] - Setting up a gender-neutral room with Australian animal prints and essential furniture.
- [10:46] - The importance of having a dedicated playroom and how it helps new placements settle in.
- [11:47] - Our first bath time with the foster children and learning from our experiences.
- [13:26] - Preparing for a newborn foster child and the essential items needed for their care.
- [17:43] - Discovering the baby prep bottle machine and its life-changing convenience.
- [20:48] - The value of community support, charity stores, and marketplace for last-minute needs.
- [21:24] - Final thoughts on being prepared and the continuous learning process in fostering.

Links & Resources:

- [Kmart Australia](https://www.kmart.com.au) - For affordable prints and home décor.
- Marketplace - A great place to find second-hand furniture and baby items.
- Local charity stores - For books, toys, and other essentials at low cost.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Fostering Together podcast. We hope our experiences and tips help you feel more prepared and confident in your fostering journey. If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, follow, share, and review our podcast. Your support helps us reach more people interested in fostering and building a supportive community. Until next time, take care, and remember, there's always someone out there willing to help.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: You're listening to the fostering together podcast. In today's episode, we'll share about how we prepared for a new little one into our home. So stay tuned. Welcome, everybody, back to the podcast. I'm Brendan. [00:00:24] Speaker B: And I'm Tracy. [00:00:25] Speaker A: And we are fostering together. [00:00:26] Speaker B: We sure are. [00:00:27] Speaker A: You are definitely used to this intro now, Tracy. It's been a little while, actually, about six weeks since we've recorded an episode. Yep. Funny how time flies, isn't it? Why so long between drinks? [00:00:40] Speaker B: Life. [00:00:41] Speaker A: The little one, she's in childcare. [00:00:44] Speaker B: She's in childcare now. Got a little bit more time. [00:00:46] Speaker A: We are building a routine around it. So we're getting there. So we're back on the microphones and very happy to be here. And our topic today, as we said at the top of the show, how we prepared our home for the introduction of our first little one. I feel like a bit of a novice at this, a bit of a poor cousin, because actually, this is your forte. You're excellent at this. [00:01:08] Speaker B: You didn't really do much, really, did you? [00:01:10] Speaker A: No, no, I didn't. But I little. [00:01:12] Speaker B: Do we really need that? Do we really need that? [00:01:14] Speaker A: So maybe this should be a solo episode. [00:01:16] Speaker B: No, no, I'm good. [00:01:18] Speaker A: The whole preparation of a little one coming in for you anyway, happened probably about three years before we were actually approved. [00:01:31] Speaker B: No, it didn't. [00:01:34] Speaker A: How long before we were even approved? [00:01:36] Speaker B: Do you think I didn't get too much before we were approved? We were approved in November, and that's when I really started with the big things. Before that, if I saw something, I mean, I probably had half a wardrobe worth of things before that. [00:01:51] Speaker A: Okay. It felt like a lot more. [00:01:53] Speaker B: I know it did, but it. It really wasn't. [00:01:56] Speaker A: So what do we need to know? [00:01:58] Speaker B: I think, first of all, it starts off with what age that you're going to foster. So for us, our journey was zero to five. That's not a set in stone sort of thing, but that's where we were when we started with the children that were in our house. We decided we wanted to start with the young ones, so we got approved in the November. [00:02:22] Speaker A: What year? 2021, wasn't it? [00:02:24] Speaker B: I don't even remember. [00:02:25] Speaker A: Pretty sure it was 2021. [00:02:26] Speaker B: Probably was 21. And we got our first placement in February of 2022. Yes. It's about three months, which isn't the norm. It can be long, it can be short. It just all depends if there's a child that suits your home. So we had time to prepare in that time, and I will say it's a really. A really funny time when you're waiting for a placement, especially your first, but even after, it's. You're sort of excited about having a new little one in your home. But obviously, for that little one to be in your home, something awful upsetting has had to happen in their life for them to come to you. So it's a strange thing of wanting something but not wanting something at the same time. It's a very weird feeling, especially when you're preparing. You've always got that sort of. At the back of your mind, or I did. [00:03:20] Speaker A: Well, and there's that excitement, isn't it? [00:03:22] Speaker B: Like, it's that there is a guilt of that excitement. [00:03:26] Speaker A: Absolutely. But from a. What we've. What we've been working towards and it actually happening, there's a. There's a nervous excitement. At least for me, there was a nervous excitement about that. There's certainly some acknowledgement of the situation. But even before we go into some of that and the preparation and whatever, like, our very first placement was a bit weird. Anyway, in what happened, we sat in our upstairs room with the case manager. The children were supposed to be coming to us at a certain time. And it was literally three quarters of an hour or so before the case manager was able to get onto the responsible person, probably more. And it turned out that they weren't coming. They weren't coming. And there was almost like this deflated sort of we'd built up. [00:04:15] Speaker B: You have so much nervous energy in you. [00:04:18] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:04:20] Speaker B: That was a bizarre situation. [00:04:21] Speaker A: So I guess we don't need to go into the details of what. Why, but it was sort of like a take two the next day, same situation, different result. Children came a couple of days later, actually. [00:04:34] Speaker B: Was it a couple of days when they came? On a Friday. [00:04:36] Speaker A: Okay. And that time it happened. [00:04:39] Speaker B: It did. But preparing for. Because when you're preparing your home, you don't know if it's going to be a boy, a girl. We could have had a baby. We could have had a five year old at school. So it's. Where do you start? What do you get? What do you need? I had no idea. So I thought, I'll start with the bathe. That's their room and somewhere to sleep. And I do apologize. I have a cold, so I probably sound a little funny. So we started with the room and I wanted to do something sort of gender neutral so I didn't have to keep swapping out designs and things like that. So we decided on australian animals only because anyone who shops in Kmart would have seen these prints. There was a koala, a kookaburra, and a kangaroo. And I bought those three, and my daughter's boyfriend put them on my wall for me. And they have been such a hit, haven't they? [00:05:35] Speaker A: Oh, absolutely. [00:05:37] Speaker B: Child has absolutely loved them. Loved them. Even little miss three that we've got now wakes up every morning pointing to the kookaburra, going, cuckoo, cuckoo, cooler, and boop. Him on the nose, and then to the kangaroo and boing, boing, boing. [00:05:53] Speaker A: It's like there's a whole routine just around those three pictures, but with every. [00:05:56] Speaker B: Child, every single child has, has loved them. And so from those three prints, the whole room was done. It was just a white painted room, those three prints. And there's a couple of other posters, australian animal poster, and a butterfly, and just got some cuddly australian animals, cuddly toys and doodle cover, cock covers. So that's our room. That's what our room looks like. And it suited boy girls, that, I. [00:06:22] Speaker A: Guess, basically what it was that, you know, as you said, neutral colors and everything, like, but just a nice, comfy room where a child around that sort of age group could come in and it wasn't sort of specifically focused towards a boy or girl. It was very neutral. And then from there, you could add. [00:06:42] Speaker B: Bits and pieces like the little girl we've got now we need to get a toddler bed. We've got bluey toddler bed. So there's now a bluey toddler bed in the australiana room, but it's fine. [00:06:54] Speaker A: Pack down the cot, put up a little toddler bed. [00:06:58] Speaker B: A little blue, yeah, and put a blue blanket on it. And so there's a mix in there. And she still loves the australian animals. She loves her little bluey bed. [00:07:06] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:07:07] Speaker B: It's all good. [00:07:08] Speaker A: It's a cute bed, too. It's awesome. I wish I had one like that when I was that age. [00:07:12] Speaker B: It's a really good in between cotton and big bed. It's really good. It gives a little bit more independence of getting in and out, because with the single bed, you need the rail. And so I've enjoyed having it. It's good. But so we had to. [00:07:29] Speaker A: And where do we get the bed? I mean, that's important information marketplace. What do we do without marketplace or charity stores? [00:07:37] Speaker B: Last minute things, because it's all last minute. And, oh, gosh, we need this. But so, yeah, so we had this single bed, and I went out, got the cot, so we had a bed of. With a bed rail. We had a cot, so that was sort of the zero to five cupboard. And I did collect some toys and books to have. Brenda would have said I over prepared, but I think. I think it's done us well. Like, I've always been able to go in the cupboard to get more toys out and books, and I felt quite prepared. [00:08:12] Speaker A: Look, I admit on the podcast that it has worked out very well, your propensity to be very, very prepared. I guess the only issue was that we had to scrape off a lot of dust off all these toys and everything like that because you'd had them there for so long. They're covered lots of dust, lots of. [00:08:32] Speaker B: Cleaning, lots of greasing boxes in the wardrobe. [00:08:37] Speaker A: No, look, being prepared is actually the best thing, because what we all know in this situation, you may be prepared as far as the agency might say, hey, this is happening. You might have a few days to get some things ready. Other times, there's some emergency situations that come up and you get a call that night and all of a sudden you've got a child with you. [00:08:56] Speaker B: I mean, you need some toys, baby, a really little one. That's not so important. But, you know, if you do have a three, four, five year old, they want to come in and they want to start playing with toys, reading some books, watching a movie. Like, they need to have something to start going on with. You've got to be prepared. You've got to have something for them to do. And so, yeah, we had to cover zero to five, and I made sure that I sort of had something. And all ages, like playing with all the age toys, as long as you got something appropriate for them. So that's the main things we got ready. The house itself, when you go through the agency and you're being approved, the safety checks are all done then. So that had all been done or we knew what to do. So the fire alarms, plug sockets, gates, etcetera, that had already been all covered. So our first placement was a two and a half and three year half. And I felt quite prepared for what we had, that we were able to cater for them straight away. You know, we had their sleeping, we had toys, really. They just didn't come with many clothes. We just had to go and get some clothes and shoes, really. [00:10:05] Speaker A: I think also, one of the beauties of the house that we live in is that there's a. As you walk in the entry, there's just a playroom out, or we've made a playroom to the right. So, you know, a child or children don't need to come in far into the house and all of a sudden they're open up to this room that's got a variety. Exactly. It's a variety of toys, a variety of books. There's a tv up on the wall there. There's. There's enough stuff in there that drags their attention straight away. And that's what happened with. Actually, with all of our placements, depending on the ages, but certainly the first one, they were those ages where they came in and they just. They both just gravitated to something and started playing and doing their thing. [00:10:46] Speaker B: Yeah. So it's important to have. Have those things. But the only thing we didn't have, because it was three months until we had a first place. But in that time, we had our bathroom redone. We didn't have a bath. [00:11:00] Speaker A: No. [00:11:00] Speaker B: So I had to quickly race out and get a baby bath, which was quite happy in the end because they actually loved being in a baby bath together and having a bath. It was, I think, the highlight of their day. So it worked out quite well in the end. [00:11:14] Speaker A: Well, it did, but remember that first bath when we actually decided to bath down in the downstairs living area, which is hard floored. [00:11:22] Speaker B: In the kitchen? [00:11:23] Speaker A: In the kitchen. And the two and a half, three and a half, they love being in the bath together. But geez, there was water. [00:11:28] Speaker B: There was a lot of water everywhere. [00:11:30] Speaker A: I'm not sure that was our brightest decision at the time. But anyway, they still got cleaned at the end of it. [00:11:35] Speaker B: They were cleaned and we moved it to the en suite shower. [00:11:39] Speaker A: Yeah. Apparently that's what en suites and bathrooms are for, to shower and bath. Little ones as well. [00:11:47] Speaker B: Yeah. I felt just by doing those things that I've talked about. We've talked about, we were prepared for that two and a half, three year old. Now, our second placement was a newborn baby who came with nothing. And I think that was the more race around. Oh, what do we have? Because obviously that baby came straight from hospital with nothing. And so she was in hospital probably in a week, just under a week. It was from the Friday to the Tuesday that we were visiting in the hospital. So we had that time to sort of get ready and think back to when we had babies, of what did we need? And we need a bassinet, we need a rocking chair, a change table, blankets. I hadn't really gone into depth. I had got a few baby bottles, which I really didn't need to do because the hospital had got her onto a certain bottle. So I had to go and buy those bottles anyway, so don't go and buy any bottles before wine. Have one there. But yeah, like her babies when they come to suit, mostly been put on a certain bottle. So don't go out and buy a lot of bottles to begin with when you haven't had anyone because like I said, they're probably come on the set bottle that you're gonna have to go out and get. And also car seat, because our agency had given us car seats for the two, now we needed a baby one, and luckily a friend came up@bass.net. blankets car seat we were very lucky. And I think in the morning before we picked her up, we went and got a change table off of marketplace and found a, and we got the. [00:13:26] Speaker A: Car seat put in as well. [00:13:28] Speaker B: Yeah, the car seat on the way to hospital, got a car seat. [00:13:30] Speaker A: Nowadays that has to be done professionally. [00:13:33] Speaker B: And the rocking chair, we luckily we had a friend with a ute who was more than happy to help us. So after we picked her, picked the little one up, Brendan then went and got the rocking chair. So I think there was a lot more running around for a baby. It's hard to prepare for a baby. It's not as common to get a baby. So to spend a lot of money trying to prepare for a baby, I wouldn't recommend it. I'd wait until they come. [00:14:01] Speaker A: And we were like, you sort of indicated we were very fortunate that, you know, through whether it be marketplace in this case, it was a lot of friends that either of us knew and we were able to reach out. And, you know, it's amazing the amount of people that have stuff that they just haven't got rid of, they no longer need, and they're more than happy to help out, even if it's just for a short time. Again, our friends were fantastic and we've been able to use those for long term and they hadn't wanted them back. For them, it was more, oh, we're glad to get rid of them now. We finished with our kids and yeah. [00:14:32] Speaker B: We got some things for someone. They're like, do you want this? Do you want this? [00:14:36] Speaker A: Okay, there's a whole, I mean, like marketplace, but it's a whole economy, isn't there, in this whole sort of sharing of children's stuff. So, and I mentioned earlier in the podcast, too, but okay, charity stores weren't specific for that, but I think we'll definitely touch on charity stores because they're a godsend for some of the stuff that you've been able to get over the time that's really helped the children as well. [00:14:58] Speaker B: I've been a lot, especially young little ones. They're not always delicate with books, and that's okay. They can't help it all the time. So you can go through a lot of books. They're great. You can get brand new books there. Yeah, like, I don't buy, you know, to buy tatty things or things. And, you know, I'll see you buying beds, you get a new mattress, you know, all of that. But, yeah, don't be shy to go in and get books and things like that that you just go through so quickly. It's amazing. But, yeah, the baby was harder because we had nothing. And it's amazing how many things a baby needs. [00:15:34] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. When you start to list it out like you've done, there's a few things, isn't there? [00:15:38] Speaker B: Then I had to go out and buy baby clothes. [00:15:42] Speaker A: You find that really hard to do, don't you? Thankfully, you managed to find a little bit of casual work in a children's store. So that does come in handy sometimes, doesn't it? Too handy. [00:15:54] Speaker B: Too handy, yeah. I mean, I'm always on the lookout for things because as each placement goes, they take a lot with them. I mean, the toys that I've collected before, there have been children. I've just loved them. So when they've gone to their forever homes, where they go, they take that with them, it's now theirs. So, you know, we do replace and I buy a couple of something. [00:16:19] Speaker A: And was there anything that we did or that you felt we had to do differently for, say, the third child or the third placement that we had the little one come into our care was that Miss little Miss N. We. [00:16:33] Speaker B: Didn'T really have to do anything too different. We all had the toys. We had the bed already. She come from another carer. So that carer just gave us so many things. And the only thing with that, that little girl, her carer had the baby prep bottle. [00:16:52] Speaker A: Oh, now, hasn't that been awesome? [00:16:55] Speaker B: And we were just like, oh, what is that magical thing? [00:17:01] Speaker A: So just to explain to people who may not know what that is, but rather than what we did for baby s that we picked up from the hospital and just put bottles together all, you know, boil the water and then put the formula in and do all the sort of heating or whatever we have to do, this contraction is you still have the powder into the bottle, so you put the required amount of scoops, but then you just put it into this, underneath this thing and press that. Make sure it's all settings are done. You press this thing and it, it fills it to the exact level. It's at the perfect temperature for a child. And you just put the lid on and you're good to go. [00:17:43] Speaker B: Good to go. It was amazing. [00:17:45] Speaker A: It's like a thermo mix for children, isn't it? [00:17:47] Speaker B: It's like a coffee machine. It's like a coffee maker. It's like you have a little filter that you put in there. It's all filtered. [00:17:56] Speaker A: To be fair, and maybe you shouldn't say this on a fostering podcast, but it's a little bit like some of that baby powder is like their drug, isn't it? They love it so much and they just can't wait to get it. [00:18:06] Speaker B: You want to do it quick? Yeah. It's like better. Trying to heat it up the bottle, heating it in water, heating it in the microwave, which some don't like. Oh, just, it just comes out of the beds. It was great. We just watched her and we're like, we're getting one of those. And I think by that night I had purchased one. [00:18:24] Speaker A: Yeah, done. Thanks for coming again. You may realize that on this, through the podcast, I'm the one that sort of moans a bit about all these things happening and, you know, grabbing a stuff, spending all sorts of bits and pieces. Again, not huge amounts of money, but I guess it all adds up over time and. But to Tracy's credit, most of it comes in handy. There's been times where she's bought things and they just don't work out. Certain cups and whatever. But again, I guess you gotta try stuff sometimes. [00:18:54] Speaker B: That cup might work. Maybe it's like the little snack cup we got with baby s. Oh, she loved that. And it, we used it for the next baby Ed, and she didn't take to it, first of all, but took a while until she did. [00:19:09] Speaker A: Yeah. Understand. So what else have we had to do with what? Sorry? What else have you had to do for preparing? [00:19:17] Speaker B: I think that's, I think right about that. Is it? Get your room ready, get sleeping arrangements ready, have some toys ready. I mean, as we've gone on, I've now got a box of, from basically naught to five clothes, boy and girl. There'll be some dramas in there and a set of clothes. Just so I've got that whenever they come, I don't have to go racing out for pajamas or anything like that. So I have, I've built that up over time in the background, it's just there. But other than that, I think that initial prep, that's all you need to do. Nothing too much, not too little. [00:19:57] Speaker A: Just do what you need to do to feel like you are prepared, at least for the start or the first period of time, and then you can just add to it from there. And like we've done, involved in fantastic carer communities and learnt lots from other carers about some of the tools and equipment, some of these fantastic bottle contractions out there. So, you know, talking to other people and learning from others and learning from own experience, and it just means that you're even more prepared each and every time you take a little one or little people into your home. [00:20:30] Speaker B: We're so prepared now. I mean, you know, we had this, you know, we had the single bed and the cot, but we also had a bassinet and a toddler bed. But there's no need to get that at the beginning because it's just storage. That's another thing, storage when you have a big age range. [00:20:48] Speaker A: All right, well, I think that's it for today's episode. It was just a bit of information about how we've prepared our home, how we've got ourselves prepared for little ones coming into our life. Certainly from that zero to five age group, there'll be people listening to this podcast that actually are focused on older children than that. And I guess the rules that apply is just do what you need to do to be prepared. Make sure you've got that 1st 24 to 48 hours covered and you can then reach out to friends, reach out to family, go to marketplace, go to charity stores. [00:21:22] Speaker B: What's your agency? Your agency will help you as well. [00:21:24] Speaker A: Absolutely. Should not forget that our agency is very, very helpful, very, very supportive of us and all of the carers attached to them. So if there's any ever you need anything, go to those places and there's always somebody to help, I think is the main message. So we want to thank you again for listening to the podcast. If you've enjoyed this episode and our two previous episodes. It's only our third episode now, but I think early on we said that we have started to build in a bit more of a routine, so our episodes will become a little bit more regular again, which we're looking forward to. Tracy can't wait. She gets excited about every episode that we do. Thanks for listening. If you like the episodes, then please like share, subscribe, tell your friends, tell other people who may be interested in caring for little ones. [00:22:11] Speaker B: That's the biggest takeaway. And not just little ones, there's older ones too. [00:22:16] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:22:17] Speaker B: There's a whole range of children that need a home. [00:22:21] Speaker A: Yeah. The system is in New South Wales, is in crisis in Australia generally, but, yeah. [00:22:26] Speaker B: And we've just gone for notify because that's what suited our house at the moment. [00:22:30] Speaker A: And we'll talk more about that on future episodes. But thanks again for listening and have a great day. Tracy, over and out. Goodbye.

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