Once I finished training, before I was actually licensed, I got to work prepping my house for a kid (or two) to live in it. This was by far the more fun part! I started by having the spare room painted and decorated. I picked a color and decorations that could easily go for either a boy or girl.
After I decorated the room, I had to think long and hard about what kind of baby/kid equipment I should get now and what should wait until I know the age of the child. On one hand, I wanted to be prepared and be able to budget for things. Waiting until I had a placement would mean having to buy a lot of things at once if I ended up with a baby. Preschoolers need less in the realm of "equipment" but their clothes and toys usually cost more.
So, here is what I decided in general -
Baby Stuff - I have a bouncy seat, an infant bathtub, and a pack n play. I also have about six bottles (2 different kinds) and some extra nipples with different flows. I have a few pacifiers and a handful of bibs. I decided not to buy a crib or a high chair because they take up a lot of space, cost a lot of money, and I didn't want to look at an empty crib. (Its somehow sadder than the empty twin bed that I already had in that room.) And I didn't buy a changing table because I already had a long dresser that can double as a changing table if needed. I'll only have to buy a changing pad if I get a baby. If I get a toddler, I will probably just change them on the bed. Its worked for all my Temporary kiddos!
Kid Stuff - I already have a twin bed and an extra mattress that can "trundle" underneath it. If I got two kids that needed beds, one could sleep on that extra mattress for one or two nights until I bought another bed frame. I have a small booster seat that can sit at my table. I've got toys - lots of toddler toys and a few preschool toys. I figure that anyone over the age of three is going to have their own opinions about what kind of toys they like, so I am reluctant to buy many. I do have a few outside toys that are more preschool friendly. Plus, I live within short walking distance to a very nice big playground. So, that should keep any older kids occupied until I can procure some kid-specific toys.
Then came the issue of clothes.
At first, I had just a few outfits of varying sizes. A friend of a friend had sent me a good donation of girls' clothes in various sizes. But the longer I waited for the phone to ring, the more I felt like I needed to be more prepared. And since I refused to let myself buy more equipment and tried to resist buying more toys, I had to get creative.
One night while I was playing around on Facebook, I found a local "Mom Swap" page. I requested to join and perused the posts offering used baby clothes, strollers, etc. Then I got a brilliant idea. I posted a quick ISO (In Search Of) explaining that I had just become licensed as a foster parent and was looking for donations of clothes to prepare for a child.
I was overwhelmed with the generosity.
Within about two hours, I had to comment and tell people that I was overwhelmed and put a halt to donations. For the next week I stopped by one or two houses a night and picked up bags of free clothes, shoes, and the occasional random item. Here is what I ended up with:
Now, all I need is a kid to put in it!