Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Foster Parent Nesting


The urge to create a warm, safe and (in humans, particularly) aesthetically pleasing space in which to welcome a child.

Typically, this occurs later in pregnancy, spurred on by an influx of hormones. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Expecting parents will clean, organize and decorate their homes and nurseries in anticipation of the life that’s about to arrive.

But even without a surge of hormones, I have found myself overwhelmed by a desire to “nest” lately. I want to make my house as welcoming and lovely as possible for any future foster children.

However, I have discovered a key difference between a biological parent and myself:

I know absolutely nothing about the kid(s) who might live in my home.

Biological parents can go HAM picking out colors, clothes, and toys. If they prefer to keep the gender a surprise, they can choose some really trendy neutral items.
According to Google, this is a "gender neutral toy."

Regardless, they’ll know to get a crib, diapers, some onesies, and whatever else babies need these days.

But what do you do if you’re completely in the dark about not just the gender, but the age and even number of your future child(ren) as well?

What do you do if you know nothing about the child (or children??) you’re preparing for?

Even Oprah is unsure.

This is the dilemma I’m facing.

Sure, I can create a gender-neutral space like many parents do, but what furniture should I supply? A crib, or a bed? Do I need a highchair, booster seat, or neither? What kind of toys should I have available? Should I stock the bookshelf with picture books, squishy books that can be chewed and drooled on, or pop-up books? (That’s for you, Ben.) Will the child(ren) in my home even like books??

Although I want to create a space like this...

Thank, Pinterest, for continually inspiring to set unattainable interior design goals!

...the uncertainty of just about everything makes the task a little overwhelming.

Still, every once in a while, I am hit with waves of sheer determination.
That’s what happened last Sunday morning.

I woke up early, had a few hours before I wanted to head to church, and was feeling super ambitious as I thought about setting up my home, so I decided to start moving into my new room. (Logistically, with the set-up of the house, my old room and the guest room are the best fit for kids’ rooms. Plus my new room has a bigger closet, so there’s that.)

After drinking a cup of coffee and singing some Chaka Khan at the top of my lungs, I disassembled my bed, moved each piece to its new location, and started putting it back together. After reassembling the bedframe, I began moving the box spring mattress into place (by myself, in case you forgot)- confident my efforts would fill Geri Halliwell herself with pride.

That’s when- in some fluid motion I still don’t entirely understand- I tripped and fell backward. Caught on the previously mentioned reassembled bedframe, I was unable to fall out of the way as the very large and heavy box spring came crashing onto me.
Or my leg.

Although I cannot find one to do the moment justice, I am certain if someone caught my fall on tape it would become a gif sensation. It had to look ridiculous.

After lying on the floor for a bit- saying some words I would never use in front of future foster children- I gathered my pride, walked off my injury, and kept trucking through my to-do list.
Then, halfway through folding a load of laundry, I noticed I had an extra kneecap sticking out of my shin.
And that it was very painful.
And pretty disgusting.

In case you missed it last week.

Suffice it to say, I was confined to the couch for the majority of the day. (Except for when I took a break to hang curtains, because- seriously- who can sit on a couch all day?)

Since then, I managed to injure my other shin and receive multiple bruises by tripping over- or running into- miscellaneous pieces of furniture.

Obviously I am the picture of effortless grace.

This lady has nothing on me.

In spite of my injuries, I was finally able to finish organizing (mostly) on Thursday. My living room looked lovely, I used some magazine basket things (technical term) to organize my closet, my dishes were finally where they belonged- things were looking up!

Then I traveled home for the weekend, loaded a U-Haul with tons of toys, blankets, baby clothes and a few pieces of furniture (which were very generously donated by my mom- thanks, mom!), and drove back north. (Special shout out to my mom, grandparents, and friends- who were incredibly kind and helped me load and unload the truck in less-than-ideal Texas heat, and my friend who was unbelievably generous and drove me 3.5 hours south so I could make a one-way trip with the truck!)

This is the 14' truck I drove like a champ. Obviously while singing Chaka Khan again.
Also, I don't have many picture of myself, so that one will be on repeat for while.

Since unloading that truck, my once mostly-organized house looks like the aftermath of a tornado running through the North Pole.

These photos don’t quite do it justice, but here’s a glimpse:

Just days ago I could sit on that couch...

There’s a lot of stuff, guys. We’re talking about six kids’ worth of childhood toys/blankets/etc.

And the thought of sorting through it all and finding space for it has made me a feel a little bit anxious.
And by a little bit anxious, I mean I’ve had a few tearful breakdowns.

But bit by bit, my gimp leg and I are going through boxes of baby/toddler things from  the 1984-1998 years, trying to decide what might be useful for the unknown child(ren) who could be living in my house in one moth.

My goal is to have everything accessible in clearly labeled containers so they can be pulled out in a pinch if and when they’re needed.

I will always aspire to the perfection of Pinterest.
And, honestly, I feel very fortunate to be overwhelmed by everything I have available for future foster kids. I mean, there certainly are worse scenarios I could be facing.

I’m feeling more calm about it as I keep plugging away with the organizing, and in spite of its current disaster status, I’m confident my house will once again be an organized (and hopefully somewhat attractive) home- ready for any child welcomed into it, whenever that may happen.

In the meantime, I still have a lot to learn about how to prepare this place.
This is what my Amazon cart has looked like for a week:

Which of these things do I actually need??

If you’ve ever welcomed a child or children into your home (biological, adoptive, foster, babysitting- whatever), how did you prepare? What items were necessary (or extremely helpful) for you? What did you think would be necessary, but turned out to be pretty pointless?

Help me, people. I could use all the advice I can get.


  1. Ouch ouch ouch. Hopefully the knot on your shin has reduced by now.

    If you have had tearful breakdown about a lack of organization of all of the new kiddo stuff, then I'm sure you can figure out a way to get it organized quickly, and probably without spending $750 at the Container Store.

    1. Let's hope so! Fortunately for me, Waco doesn't have a Container Store. Or- even more dangerous- an Ikea... :)

  2. 1. so in love with Kristen Wiig and so in love with that character and so glad to see her make an appearance
    2. 14' Uhauls are the bomb!! (I recently used one for my move)
    3. I'm so excited for you!!! if you need help cleaning/organizing/unpacking, I got you
    4. see you tonight :)

  3. ouchiewawa! what an ordeal. just read a great article today about being thankful instead of discontent that our houses or not super-pinterest-organized-and-trendy. I found it really encouraging -- http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/
    And sorry, i have not idea about kiddo-proofing your home..

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I'm sure I'll be coming back to it regularly when my home is constantly overrun by children's toys. :)

  4. Assuming your future foster child (children?) likes books, and I certainly hope he or she does, expect to receive the most exciting (yet age appropriate) pop-up book from me in the mail. I can't have your child going through life not knowing the joys of a good pop-up book!

  5. I'll be there in about 15 hours or so to help you organize!!!


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