G & B'S STORY
"We had just been placed with an infant six days prior to our next call. A five-year-old girl and her one-month-old brother needed a home that day because they had already been in shelter 31 days (max is supposed to be 30). We said “yes” and had to go pick up the kids from the shelter within a few hours. We moved kids' rooms around and ran to the store for everything we could think of to care for 2 babies now and a preschooler. Our family of four became seven in a weeks time!
G and B came with the pajamas they were wearing, a garbage bag of random papers and trinkets, and a bottle that’s nipple had been punctured so they could put cereal in with B's formula.
We fostered them for 2 years before we adopted them. Over the years, we learned that when G was taken by social services, she had been out on a walk with her birth mother, and they never went back to her apartment to get any of her things. At her apartment was her treasured cat, her bike, and her clothes (that were kept in a trash bag). All of this was left behind.
If G and B had come with Foster the Love placement bags, they really would have had something they could have called their own, and possibly the first nice, new things they would have ever owned!"
Update: After I wrote this piece about G's experience entering foster care and read it to her, she quickly chided me for forgetting "a main part." And-after hearing her out-I realized I had left out an important part! I have to share with you what I missed! When G was taken by the social workers, she was obviously very scared. She told me she wouldn't let go of her mom's hand until they were absolutely forced to separate them. G was crying and so distraught that someone gave her a stuffed animal to hold while she was being driven to the shelter home. The stuffed animal apparently helped her so much that she remembers the drive with it many years. The hard part about this story though, is that when they arrived at the shelter, the worker took the stuffed animal back! G walked into an unknown, scary world, with nothing to comfort her. She lost everything. I have no more words.
"We picked up one and a half-year-old "T" from a shelter home. He was our first placement, so we didn't know what to expect. The shelter gave us one outfit, socks, and a coat; the pants he was wearing were for a three-year-old. The scant belongings - we've found out during our years of fostering- is common for foster kids. In T's case, it also fit the lifestyle he had been living- moving from place to place and often sleeping in a garage. We put the ill-fitting clothes in a cupboard in case we needed to return them at some point and found our own. Thankfully, we had saved clothes and toys from our older kids that he could use because it took several months before we received any financial help from the county. A placement bag would have been very nice for him, since he'd never had much of anything.
It would have been helpful for us as the foster parents too because adding another child who needs to catch up on medical appointments and get rides to visits, along with general care costs, adds up quickly!"
G & G'S STORY
"We actually had 5 days notice that we were being placed with 2 girls- ages 5 years and 9 months. The girls came to us after visiting their birth mom in jail. They brought one small bag with them that had a change of clothes for each of them, but all of their clothes were the wrong size and the bag was half full of their mom's clothes. This little bag was so important to the older one, though, that she wouldn't let the bag out of her sight for the first month. It was like her departure bag, in case she had to pick up and leave quickly again. For us, having only a boy prior to their arrival, we were thankful that we had advanced notice (many foster families don't) and friends who pitched in to give us girl clothes and toys.
For the girls, it would have been such a blessing to have had a nice, new bag to bring here, since what they brought was so unusable."
The goal in foster care is to reunite the family if at all possible. We on the Foster the Love MN Team love to see a parent who has worked so hard get their kid(s) back! It can be the most beautiful and emotional thing to witness as a foster parent. There is hope with addiction and there are people who want, yes, want, to come alongside you to help you regain your parental rights. Don't give up or do this road alone. Check out the following real stories of parents who did it. They are reunified!