June 29th, 2011
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clipboardWe got “the call” yesterday.¬† The one where the agency calls and says, “Are you ready for a possible placement?”¬† It didn’t work out yesterday because we could not take the whole group of three since we have such a large family, but I put “the list” to work.

One thing that has really helped me stay organized is my “make-ready” checklist.¬† It’s a short sweet list of how we need to prepare when a new child is on the way.¬† I thought it might be helpful to you too.

1) Where will this child/these children sleep?  Get bedding out, set up sleeping area.   An infant or baby has one sleeping arrangement in our home, older girl another, older boy yet another.  It is a good idea to think through all these scenarios in advance.

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2) Where will we store his/her belongings?    We have  extra dressers or drawers for each scenario.

3) Do I have a “welcome” gift?¬† I like to have something new (a doll, a journal, a snuggly, a car) to greet each child.¬† This belongs the the child and will leave with them.¬† I usually present it the minute the social worker leaves.

4) Quick check of home safety;  Are all the meds in the lock boxes?  Are the outlets all covered?   Is there anything out that belongs to the older kids that should be put away? What can I do to make their bedroom look inviting and welcoming?

5) What will my children be doing while I meet with the social worker and the new child/children?¬† It helps to have a plan.¬† On a nice day, the older girls make take one or two of “the littles” for a walk to reduce the chaos.¬† If I’m home alone with the “littles” I have playdough, colors, pretty new paper, bubbles, etc. that I can hand them one after another.

6) This is probably my most important:¬† List the things I need to ask the placement worker.¬† Are there food allergies or strong preferences?¬† What does she know of the child’s schedule?¬† Do we do the routine placement doctor’s visit?¬† Does she have a shot record?¬†¬† These questions are not part of the placement paperwork — which will include school, parent visit, upcoming appointments, belongings — but are essential to my making the child “at home.”

7) Make necessary appointments before the child arrives:¬† schedule the doctor, school visit, day care, etc.¬† (In order to do this, you need to ask the worker the child’s full name, date of birth and medicaid number.)

This is a snapshot of our make-ready checklist.¬† I’d love to hear about yours!

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