Once I decided that I was going to become a foster parent, I set to work preparing for a child in my life. Throughout the licensing process i discovered that there was WAY more to making space in my life than just clearing out a room.
About halfway through PRIDE training I began compiling lists -
Lists of daycares
Lists of babysitters
Lists of emergency contacts
And I began compiling a master list of things that I needed to buy or borrow -
The first lists turned out to be the easiest to fulfill - mostly because with the second list, I had to decide what to get now and what should wait until I knew what age/gender child was placed with me. But the first list was easy - practically everyone I know is on at least one of them.
I started by just googling and Yelp-ing "daycares" and my area code. After copying those down, I realized that I didn't like the idea of my foster child being 30-45 minutes away from me. I don't live far from work, only 15-20 minutes in the morning, but the evening traffic is always terrible. Add into that equation that I live in a place where snow happens, and I decided to increase my search area. So, I included my work area and a few of the areas along my commute route. This wouldn't solve all my worries since I am often out all over the city for my job, but it is the best I can do. Which brought me to...
This was a little bit harder, not because I had any lack of people who would mind babysitting, but because I had to think rationally about who was most available. I started with thinking about who could pick up my child if I had a work emergency and couldn't get to my child. That turned out to be pretty simple in the end. I asked a couple of my coworkers actually - they would be physically close to daycare if my child needed to be picked up and they are already all background checked! Win/win.
Then I had to figure out who I would call if I was actually unable to care for my foster child - a true emergency. This was a little trickier because most of my friends have children of their own - little ones - and so its not as easy for them to drop everything or take on another little one. But I asked two of my closest friends if they would be willing - they both said yes without reservation. But I also have a few people on this list that are single and child-free that could come stay with me if I was just really sick and needed an extra pair of hands.
This one was the easiest actually. I've got a few co-workers who babysit regularly. They are both on my babysitter list, as well as one of my best friends who is married but doesn't have kids yet. Part of the reason this list was easy though is that I don't anticipate using any babysitters for a while. I know I might regret or rethink that notion once a child is here, but I really want to focus on attachment in the beginning. And kiddo will already be in daycare for 8 hours a day which will give me a break from constant caregiving. So, in the beginning, I don't think I'll be using sitters very often at all.
So, all in all, I presented my licensing worker with the names, birthdates, and social security number of about 15 people. Which made her look at me like I'd lost my mind. Apparently I was a little bit on the over-achieving side of things.
It wasn't the only time I took a turn into crazyville... just wait until Part 2.