We 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.
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!