Waiting For Your First Arrival

Opening your home up to becoming a new foster parent can be an exciting but also nerve-wracking time. You’ll want to make sure everything is perfect for your new arrival but we never want our fosterers to stress about taking in their first foster child. 

 

To help make the process easier and stress-free, we wanted to create an easy step-by-step guide of what you’ll need to get in order, what you can expect and tips on how to prepare for any eventuality. 

How to prepare for your new arrival

Remember that even the most prepared of us can never be 100% prepared for every tiny detail. Don’t be too hard on yourself if something slips through the net, everything can be figured out so don’t stress too much during this time. 

 

The very best way to be prepared is to be open and accepting of whoever comes your way. The foster children that will be placed in your care won’t be the same every time, they will have their own unique needs, likes and dislikes, habits and quirks, so remain flexible and ready to pivot whenever you need to. 

Creating structure

No matter which foster child is placed in your care, however, it can be useful to set some ground rules and boundaries very early on. This helps to create a routine and structure which can in turn offer a greater sense of safety and security. Make sure you are clear about what these will be and maybe write them down where they can be seen by everyone in the home regularly, keeping them fresh in everyone’s mind. 

 

It can also help to offer your new arrival a house tour to help them become familiar with the layout of their new home and make sure they feel familiar with their surroundings. This is also a good time to talk about things like timings, for example when you typically have breakfast, lunch and dinner or wake up and go to bed each day. Ensure that your foster child knows how the home operates and functions as soon as they arrive so that they can get comfortable as quickly as possible. 

What to expect on your first day

On the very first day, your foster child arrives, you’ll probably feel nervous as it’s a big day for everyone involved. Your new arrival will probably be tired from all the big changes so try not to plan too much for the day other than a general orientation of your home and maybe a tour of the area. 

 

Make sure they know where their bedroom is and where they can put any possessions they have. If they are reluctant to part with any possessions straight away, respect their space and allow them to keep anything with them throughout the day that may be a source of comfort e.g. a teddy bear or blanket. 

 

It’s important that you understand that you will be a stranger to your new foster children and trust will have to be built with time. If they want to spend time alone, give them the ability to do that and don’t try and force them to integrate with the family all at once. The child will eventually start to trust you as time moves on, but each child will do so in their own time.  

What you may need to make things go smoothly

Most of our foster children will have very few possessions, so it’s always a good idea to buy the basics for their arrival. Some things you may want to buy before they arrive are: 

 

  • Toothbrush and child-friendly toothpaste 
  • A hairbrush 
  • Child-friendly foods, a variety of food that the child can choose from
  • Towels and face cloths 
  • Soap and shower gel
  • Shampoo and conditioners 
  • Deodorant 
  • Feminine products* 
  • Nappies and baby wipes
  • Bed & bedding
  • Cot*

 

When buying anything for your new foster child it’s a good idea to make it gender-neutral or plain until you get to know your child better. Each child will have unique likes and dislikes so once they’re settled in, then you can let them know that they can have a say in what clothes they have, bedding etc. 

 

*Foster children come to us at all stages of life, so there will be items that you’ll need that are age-appropriate. You should be informed before your new foster child arrives what age they are, so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for this. 

 

Don’t forget that your social workers and fostering agency are always here for you if you have any concerns or questions in the run-up to your new arrival. Never be afraid to speak up if you’re not sure about something, we’re always here to help and make things as easy as possible.