Antique Doll House

The Benefits of Climate Controlled Storage: A Quick Guide

Last week I took a poll on Instagram and asked if y’all would like to know more about climate controlled storage and the overwhelming consensus was–YES!

Living in a rental or a small space–Sam and I hit both marks–makes storage a challenge. We have more space than most–but it’s still not enough or ideal. As we’ve been KonMari-ing our house–in large part due to Marie Kondo’s TV show–I noticed our loft area has become a makeshift storage space over the last several years. Items that we don’t think will survive the 100+ degree weather in our attic or garage come summer have now taken over half the space. We are losing valuable living space by keeping all that stuff stacked up in the corner.

So we had a serious conversation last week about what to do with all of it. To clarify, the ‘items’ are some antique furniture handed down by my parents, a giant antique doll house, photos, paper memorabilia and my wedding dress(which is sealed up in one of those fancy storage boxes)–basically valuables and antiques. Some of it we get out once a year at Christmas–like the Beary Merry Christmas doll house–but most of it goes untouched year round. We know we need to store these items but do they need to be stored in climate controlled unit and would be worth the added cost each month?

Basically, it all comes down to geographical location, the type and/or age of the item you want or need to store, and if you’re willing to pay the extra money for the peace of mind.

But first, what exactly is climate controlled storage and what are the benefits? Climate controlled storage units are usually indoor and maintain a consistent temperature all year round–some units even come with enhanced features like humidity control. They are often placed inside buildings with sealed and insulated roofs, walls, and floors. Below are some of the benefits of a climate controlled storage and reasons you might consider renting one:

  • Extreme Temperature

If you live in a climate that sees extreme temperatures like 100+ degrees in the summer or below freezing temperatures in the winter and you might want to protect your valuables from the damaging effects of extreme temperatures. Sensitive items like wood furniture, antiques, and musical instruments can suffer from warping, splitting, or cracking due to the constant change in temperature. Additionally, items like fine art, photos, books, or business records can also be damaged due to the highs and lows of temperature change.

Items that would benefit from a climate controlled environment:

    • Antiques, especially wood furniture
    • Musical instruments
    • Mattresses
    • Books and magazines
    • Electronics
    • Important documents
    • Upholstered furniture
    • Vinyl records
  • Air quality and circulation and keeps the air fresh.

It’s common to overlook air quality when shopping for storage units. A standard storage unit isn’t sealed the same way an indoor climate controlled unit is. Because climate controlled storage facilities continuously circulate the air, the air remains clean. This prevents you from needing to open your unit just to get some fresh air inside which is important for the storage of sensitive electronics or documents–air quality should be high on the priority list.

  • Less chance for dust, debris, rodents, and insects.

Climate controlled storage units are often placed inside buildings with sealed and insulated roofs, walls, and floors. As a result, these units are less susceptible to minor flooding or tracked in dirt, and because they’re indoors, there isn’t as much chance for rodents or insects to make a home in your stored things.

Another benefit here is you’ll have less dust and debris always making its way into your unit. You’ll find your items just the way you left them, whether you store them for a week, a year, or a decade.

  • An extra peace of mind

Climate controlled storage usually costs more than traditional storage. This added cost is often insignificant and usually overshadowed by the peace of mind you’re given knowing you’ve protected your items from harsh seasonal changes and weather-related mishaps.

However, if you’re storing items that aren’t valuable for a short period, traditional storage is often adequate.

  • Humidity control

As mentioned above, humidity control is sometimes an enhanced feature some storage facilities offer. Humidity control, as an addition to climate control, maintains constant humidity in the unit to around 50%. Humidity controlled storage units are most often needed in places with either year round extreme high or low levels of humidity. For example, if we lived in Corpus Christi, Tx on the Gulf of Mexico –where the humidity is close to 100% almost everyday–we would need humidity control for what we want to store. Not only would the salt in the air cause damage to our things but there is a really high chance everything we stored outside climate and humidity control would mold, rot and be attacked by lots of bugs and rodents.

Conversely, if we lived in an extremely dry climate like Denver, Co, our valuables would be more likely to suffer the opposite effects by drying up from the lack of moisture and I’m sure be attacked by bugs and rodents.

I hope this helped clarify the issue and makes the deciding whether or not you need climate controlled storage easier. For us, the answer is a definitive yes. We were right not to leave our items stored in our attic or garage.

As far as pricing here in the Dallas area, a 5×5 or 5×7 unit runs around thirty-five to forty-five dollars a month and went up in price the larger the unit. My advice in determining how much storage vs rental you can afford is to roll both payments together as one and consider that your total monthly rent payment. that way you can determine how much apartment you can afford vs how much storage you can afford.

Here are a few storage unit tips before I go:

  • If you can’t afford humidity controlled storage and will be storing during damp months, be sure to access your unit regularly. Opening the doors will allow fresh air into the unit and will circulate out built up humidity and odors.
  • Some humidity controlled storage units are available without climate control.

 

Maegan

The Gift of Self Care

I read an article the other day that claimed putting Christmas lights and decorations up early might make you happier. I’m inclined to agree as I definitely felt a surge of happiness and excitement while decorating our entire home last weekend. I have never ever decorated this early for Christmas but something about it just felt right to me this year.

As our lights lit up our street our early Christmas decorating was made all the more obvious by the lack of lights on the other houses. Our decision was literally bright as a light shining in the darkness—a beacon of nonconformity. What would the neighbors think? It was the perfect literal example of, in my opinion, the most vital form of self care—making the best choices for myself even if they may seem odd, inconvenient, or against the social grain.

Please hear me, I’m not talking about rebellion. I’m referring to healthy, calculated decisions based on what is the healthiest, and most beneficial action for me to remain in a calm and centered spiritual, emotional, and physical state. That is much more difficult to execute than rebellion. Rebellion is caustic and harmful to the rebellious person, and those surrounding them often suffer the consequences too. While making the best decision for self is healthy and healing not only for that person but also for those surrounding them too. I’ve heard it said that making the best decision for ourselves is also the best decision for everyone else too.

Our early Christmas decorating is unconventional and could possibly irritating to our neighbors but it was the best decision for Sam and I. I needed an early injection of Christmas joy and my decision made Sam happy and created an opportunity for us to have fun together. We haven’t had one complaint from our neighbors and the lights cast a cheery glow on our street. Then yesterday, after the lights outside were hung, I read an article that said there’s another possible benefit to decorating early: the neighbors might think we are friendlier! Research has shown that people interpret Christmas decorations on a home as a cue that the people inside are sociable. With all that’s gone on this year, I want nothing more than to spread friendship to my neighbors!

Choosing to do what was best for me injected my life with some much needed Christmas joy, created an opportunity for Sam and I to laugh and have fun together and create happy memories, and shared some friendly and sociable goodwill with my neighbors. I’d say that’s a win, win, win!

With Thanksgiving just days away and Christmas here in a month it can be tempting to make decisions for yourself and your family based on what you think other people want or need. I want to encourage you to do what is best for you this holiday season. This is a head time of year to focus on self care and mental health but I’d say it’s the most important time. Being in a calm and centered state will surely make this the most enjoyable holiday season you’ve ever had.

So wether it’s putting your Christmas lights up early, saying no to that holiday party, or sleeping in your own bed for Christmas give yourself the priceless gift of doing what is best for you. You won’t regret it!

Oh, and early Merry Christmas!

Maegan

Fear of Responsibility

Happy Monday! It’s time for another #mentalmonday post. Today I want to talk about fear of responsibility. It’s an epidemic that is infecting my generation like never before, and I am certainly not exempt. I used to think that it was fear of failure that kept me from writing my books or starting a YouTube channel, then I realized that it wasn’t the act of the those things that kept me from doing them, it was what might come after.

My heart seizes at the thought of success. Can I handle that much pressure—that much responsibility? That’s where self confidence and love come in. I have to believe in myself that I can handle whatever responsibilities and pressure are given me if I succeed and unconditional self love when I fail.

As a Christian I also know that God’s love for me is based on his unchanging decision to love me—my performance has no bearing—that’s really helpful too. Believing in and loving yourself—while acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses—is paramount in squashing your fears. Believe in yourself and love yourself unconditionally, and soar or crash-land you’ll conquer your fear in peace. And the important thing is that you lived your life, you tried—isn’t that what really matters?

Is fear of responsibility holding you back? You are not alone! What are your dreams, your ambitions? I want to know!

*The little boy in the photo is my dad in his Roscoe Bankers baseball uniform. Thanks for letting me use your photo dad!

Maegan

Positivity

For today’s #mentalhealthmonday I want to embrace positivity. Sam, Lemon, and I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at an Addison park engulfed by gorgeous 75 degree wether. It was so serene—the wind wasn’t even blowing! Sam and I had been talking earlier that morning about how despite life’s great difficulties and heartbreaks life is still good.

Even though I was struggling with some emotional things, I couldn’t deny that indeed my life, my day, was still really great. I mean, just look at those trees! I acknowledged I was spending a quiet Sunday afternoon with my best friend and my dog, drinking unsweetened, blackberry tea from Sonic, while basking in fall’s radiance. It turned my whole day around!

If you find yourself emotionally struggling today, remember that your life is still good too. You’re alive, it’s your favorite time of year, the sun is out, you’re being soothed by rain on your window, your cat woke you up purring in your ear, your dog wants nothing more than to love you, you have family and friends who care about you, and God loves you(even if you don’t like/believe in Him), and I care enough about you—maybe you’re someone I’ve never met—to reach out and give you a virtual hug and remind you that you matter! Your life matters and your today is a good day! Grab a piece of paper and write down three reasons your life is good then tag someone you know who needs encouragement in the comments! I believe you are going to have a fantastic Monday! #dontstopbelievin ✨🍁🦔

Maegan

Encouragement

It’s #mentalmonday and I just wanted to remind you that today may feel like it’s kicking you in the pants, but it’s not because you are warrior who knows the value of surrender, submission, and positive thinking! It takes inner strength and endurance to wrestle against our hardest days. When you’re having a bad day, remember that it takes a strong person to admit their struggles, embrace them, and do what is necessary to move back to a safe place of rest.

If this is you and you’re having a bad day today I want you to reach out to a friend with a phone call, text, or dm. Isolation is the enemy! Confide today’s struggle to them(it doesn’t have to be your whole story) and ask for prayer and/or encouragement! If this is not you today (though make no mistake that this could be you tomorrow)I want you to reach out to the first person that pops into your head or the person that’s been on your heart or mind lately and call/text/dm them words of encouragement and/or prayer AND an open ended invitation to be an ear who will listen and be supportive (without giving unasked for advice😉)! Let’s lift one another up today with encouragement and positivity! Happy Monday!

Maegan

Declutter Your Closet in 9 Steps / MaegankJohnson Blog

Declutter Your Closet in 9 Steps

The closet purge. It doesn’t matter how well you know your style, every so often it’s time to clean everything out. Am I right? It could just be that the seasons have changed and as you un-box your clothes for the new season wardrobe you spot pieces and items that just aren’t working for you anymore. Or maybe there are a few things that just don’t fit the same as they used to–hello Christmas cookies and those extra holiday carbs. Or maybe you’ve had a major life change and your wardrobe no longer fits your current lifestyle–I’m looking at you brand new mama. Whatever the case may be, life is constantly changing and so our wardrobes are constantly changing as well.

I have two resources I recommend reading on the subject of decluttering and closet management. First is ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ by Marie Kondo and the second is ‘The Curated Closet’ by Anuschka Rees. They both have a wealth of knowledge on two different but similar subjects–one on organization and health the other on style–and I highly recommend you read them both. I drew a little from both of these resources while coming up with my own purging method.

A few recommendations before you start:

Purge your closet before organizing your closet

  • I’ve made this mistake a hundred times and let my say that trying to organize where bags and shoes should live among all the clothes you probably don’t wear and wont be keeping is a total waste of time. Leave the organizing until the end.

Purge accessories and shoes last

Gather your tools

  • Trash-bags, permanent marker, music to set the mood, something to keep you hydrated

Let’s Begin!

You will be making four piles: pieces that don’t fit, pieces you haven’t worn in the last year, pieces you’re keeping, and a donate pile. Lay a trash-bag out to represent each pile.

1. Separate and place in a pile what doesn’t fit

  • Let’s be honest–you probably know the exact pieces of clothing that don’t fit in your closet right this minute. And if you aren’t sure, you probably have a good idea which pieces really need the ‘try it on’ test. I will go so far as to guess with great accuracy that you are picturing those pieces of clothes right now. Take everything for the current season that you know doesn’t fit and put it in a pile. Don’t try anything on yet.

2. Separate and place in a pile everything you haven’t worn in the last year that still fits

  • Don’t make excuses for your clothes, don’t not put it in the pile because you spent good money on it and you probably will wear it later on–maybe(that’s called the sunken cost fallacy–go google it). Just put it in the pile. You will be glad you did later on.

3. Go through the ‘doesn’t fit pile’ one piece at a time, try it on if need be, and determine if this is really something you will ever reasonably be able to wear again.

  • If you’re not confident you will be able to fit into it again within the next six months or by the next year(summer 2019 from now summer 2018) then toss it in the donate pile. Holding onto the past sometimes keeps us from reaching our goals in the future. I’m speaking from personal experience as someone who lost 130lbs. When I started my weight loss journey, I parted ways with a lot of clothes I had been keeping for years in the hopes one day I could go back and fit into them like the old days. You can’t go back to the old you. You–in the present–has to move forward to your future self–that’s how time works. However, if a particular piece of clothing motivates you forward I say keep it! That clothing is now an empowering tool to encourage you! You will know the difference too as you hold each item. If it fills you with guilt its holding you back. If it empowers you, keep it!
  • If something is too small or too big but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

4. Put all clothes you haven’t worn in the last year in the donate pile

  • Let’s face it–you didn’t wear it because you didn’t love it and you probably are never going to wear it. Give someone else the chance to wear it who really would love it. If it’s a more expensive item try selling it at a consignment store or through an app like Poshmark. *
  • If there’s something you haven’t worn but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

5. Go through the remaining clothes in the fourth pile piece by piece and determine if it fits your style perfectly

  • Can you make three separate outfits with this item? Do you really love wearing it? Does it fit right(can you wear it all day without discomfort)? Does it make you happy to put it on? If you answer yes to all these questions then place it in a new ‘to-keep’ pile. Repeat this step for each item. What doesn’t make the cut gets tossed in the donate pile.

6. Separate all the off season clothes (that would be fall and winter right now) and put them in bags or boxes and store them underneath your bed

  • When doing a major ultimate purge I don’t recommend trying to sort off-season clothes because it’s too overwhelming to guess where you might be in four-six months in life. Just repeat this process once the seasons change.
  • Move all off-season clothes into bags or boxes and store them under your bed. This will free up space in your closet and each time you look for an outfit you will only see the clothes that can be worn right now. This is really a huge deal because it gives your brain a mental rest and it becomes relaxing to look at the clothes in your closet and not have to constantly block out all the off season items.

7. Bag up all the clothes being donated or stored and label them

8. Put your donate bags in the trunk of your car

9. Place all the items in the ‘to keep’ pile back in your closet

10. Repeat these 9 steps for your shoes, jewelry, and other accessories

*There might be a few items that you’re on the fence about. I recommend a trial separation for these items. Put them away for two weeks in a bag under your bed. If you don’t go looking for them in two weeks donate them.

Once you have it all purged its time to organize and beautify your closet!

I hope this post was incredibly helpful and simple. Its daunting to tackle what seems like an impossible task but I know you’re up for it! I want to know if my ‘method’ worked for you! Come back once you’re done and tell me how it went in the comments below!

Maegan — xx

The Dreaded Home Study: It’s Nothing to Dread

acs_0175We had a wonderful home study experience. It was intense and our interviewer did ask many probing questions. But it wasn’t scary. The interviewer was never inappropriate and he never made any ugly remarks.

Exactly why does everyone dread the home study and why does is have such a negative connotation? What exactly is so horrific that the word ‘home study’ is whispered in hushed tones like the name Voldemort?

I think the general population has the expectation that a home study is to have their private life and home broken into and swarmed like a SWAT team on a drug bust. Glass breaking, wood splintering they kick down the front door and crash through the windows with automatic rifles flashing, screaming for everyone to get down on the ground–GET DOWN ON THE GROUND AND PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD–as they shoot the family dog.  This is what people imagine about a home study because it is the kind of experience that has been described to them. There is a lot of bad and untrue information about foster care–especially the home study. It has to be one of the top three that gets lied about and/or blown out of proportion within the topic of foster care. Please always consider the merit of the person who is regaling you with stories or information about foster care–that includes me.

Most people– including myself before we became certified–know absolutely nothing about foster care or what the certification process looks like. When you are ignorant about a subject then you are completely vulnerable to misinformation. That’s how rumors and nonfactual information root themselves in the populous. When you get educated on a topic you can spot misinformation a mile a way. If you want an education on foster care, seek out several foster care agencies and attend their orientations. While you’re there ask the people who have careers in foster care what a home study is like. Never rely on just mine or anyone else’s second hand information. Always go straight to a credible source for credible information.

What most people are unaware of is that months prior to the actual home study everything you’ve ever done wrong; your darkest secret; the past you’ve only shared with your spouse or close family; all of it has already been written down and divulged to your agency. Remember all that paperwork you have to fill out–yeah, all that stuff about your past is part of it. There is almost nothing that your home study interviewer asks you or talks to you about that you haven’t already answered in your paperwork packet questionnaire or written in your autobiography. You will have already submitted your budget, bank statement, taxes, medical records, FBI background checks, autobiographies, house rules, job history, marriages, children, rabbies vaccination records for your pets, baby sitters, and the four different people who you asked to be your references(who submitted their own stack of paperwork of questions all about you asking very personal, honest and harsh questions about your integrity, your social standings, your finances, your personality, etc), you’ve submitted pictures of every room in your house, pictures of yourself, and your pets, and children. They have background checks on your cleaning lady and yard person and your nanny and babysitter(nannies have to complete a certain amount of foster care training in order to remain your nanny). They’ve already requested a lot of personal information from you. They already know EVERYTHING. There is almost NOTHING that the government doesn’t know about you by the time you have that home study. You have willingly made your life an open book and your home study interviewer has already read your ENTIRE file before they ever come to your house.

If you have been honest and upfront on all your paperwork you have nothing to hide or be afraid of at your home study. A home study is another way for the state and your agency to get to know you and all the members of your family–to better assess everyone. It’s the same reason companies have phone and then in-person interviews with job applicants. The in-person meeting helps to complete the already extensive picture that has been painted for them. That’s one of the big reasons why they have home studies.

So, there is no reason, NO reason to be afraid of a home study. None. And if that’s the one thing keeping you from pursuing foster care or adoption through foster care you have no more excuses. If you have nothing to hide then there is nothing to fear. It’s just part of the process to ensure the safety of the already abused children coming into foster care.

This foster care thing isn’t about you. And if you stop and think about this whole process from the perspective of what is best for the child then this process will stop looking like a governmental SWAT raid and more like good people trying their best to ensure that they are taking the very very best initiative to protect children coming into foster care. Wouldn’t you do the same if the roles where reversed?

Maegan

 

 

FROM ORIENTATION TO LICENSING—THE COMPLETE STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT

From Orientation to Licensing—The Complete Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Foster Parent

acs_0004Since Sam and I have started this journey I have had so many people say to me, “I’ve always wanted to become a foster parent but I have no idea how to get started. What do you have to do to become a foster parent or foster to adopt?” Well, if you’ve ever had that question I’m answering it for you today. This is a lengthy post and for good reason. I go into detail about each step of the process and include tips and tricks Sam and I learned along the way. I want to note to that we are licensed in the state of Texas so if you live in another state some of these steps and protocols might look different for you but the basic bones of the process are the same. Ok, here we go!

First things first:

Choose an Agency

You need to choose an agency. You don’t have to use an agency but I’m NEVER going to suggest you try to go it alone. Fostering through an agency is an INFINITELY better experience for you and your placement. Why is an agency so important? The agency trains you for free (that CPR class you need would run you $200 and up if you were going it alone. And that’s just one of many many certifications you will have to have in order to be licensed.) An agency prepares you for every inspection and the home study and helps walk you through the certification process. But that’s not why fostering with an agency is so important. No, the most important part comes AFTER certification when you actually have a placement. They are your guide and liaison between you, CPS, the State, and the child’s bio family. They are your support people. If you have any issue, you vent to them and not CPS, or your CASA volunteer, or the child’s therapist, or a random stranger, or the internet(Ah-hem). They are there to support you and help guide you through court appointments, placement paperwork(that initial placement comes with over two hours of paperwork with CPS)–I could go on and on and on. Fostering through an agency is very important to the success of you and your placement’s experience. If you know someone who is currently fostering, ask them who their agency is. (We are with Upbring the largest agency in Texas) If you don’t know any foster families, Google: (Insert your city name here) Foster Agencies”. This will pull up all the agencies in your area. Go to their websites and and find out when their next orientation is. If it’s not listed on their website, call and ask!

Attend Orientations

Do your research about each agency and then attend their orientation. The following suggestions are personal preference of course, but there are some main factors I would never overlook such as; Does this agency like to follow ALL the rules? Do they expect you as the potential foster parent to follow the rules? Do they have strict guidelines and standards for certification qualification? Are they adamant about supporting their families? (In-depth blog post coming on this soon) Do they have a good relationship with CPS? Do they require you to have all the state mandated equipment in your home BEFORE an environmental inspection, BEFORE your home-study, and BEFORE your first placement? What’s their attitude towards the State? What is their motivation as an Agency? What are their spiritual beliefs? Obviously, you will want to spend a lot of time praying about this decision. Orientation is also a good time to talk to other people who are fostering with that agency. What is their attitude towards their agency? If you hear things like, “our previous agency never expected us to comply with “x” but your agency does?” multiple time from different people with different agencies you’re probably in the right place. A good agency will expect you to follow ALL the rules–and boy are there a lot of them.

Pray about it some more

 

Sign Up for Training

After you choose an agency you will receive a schedule of their next round of foster care training. Your agency will give you the schedule of when all your classes will be and you will be responsible for signing up for them in advance. Our agency didn’t offer all the trainings every month so knowing your schedule and keeping track of what trainings you’ve completed is important. With Upbring a person has three months to complete their trainings and receive their certification or they have to start the entire process over again. So look 3 months ahead in your calendar and decide if the next training round will be a good time for you, and know that soon beyond that point you will be receiving a placement upon receiving your license.

Fill Out the Preliminary Paperwork

At this point you will have some preliminary paperwork that you will need to fill out and submit before you begin training. This paperwork is pretty basic(and not scary)and it’s purpose is to determine whether you are a good candidate for going on to training. These factors are very practical factors like your Name, address, date of birth, etc. They are also going to ask to see your finances and tax records to determine whether you can you financially afford to take on another child or children. They are going to do background checks to see if you have gone to jail for murdering anyone or for abusing/molesting children(good things to look into I think); etc. They will complete a regular background check on you and then an FBI background check(we had to pay for our FBI background check). These processes are not about failing you, but about making sure the children’s best interest is ALWAYS put first. Should the government trust you to take care of the children in their custody? Are you realistically capable of taking on this commitment? These are all responsible, necessary questions your agency should be asking you because CPS and the State of Texas is going to ask them.

Training Begins

Print out your training schedule and put it up where everyone in the family can see it. Put in in your planner, and phone, and on your calendar. Hold on to your hats. Training is rigorous and emotional and mentally exhausting. It’s not that it’s too hard to understand–it’s just a very large amount of information at once. Be prepared to discuss, hear, see, and listen to difficult and upsetting topics and scenarios. There is a reason why foster care exists–and it’s ugly. That’s why children in foster care NEED good, loving, families to take refuge in. There’s a very valid reason.

Keep praying

Take your training in order. Trust me.

Pray some more–your getting in good practice for when you actually have that child or children come into your family

 

The Mountain of Paperwork

Your training will guide through the entire process including the paperwork you need to fill out. I can’t speak for other agencies but Upbring had our paperwork broken into phases so as you complete certain training you turn in the paperwork designated for that phase. This is why it’s important to take your classes in order! Sam and I took our classes out of order and that made keeping up with submitted paperwork much more difficult. During this time you will have some paperwork in your folder that is specifically for your references to fill out and mail in. As soon as you get your paperwork be thinking about who you would like to be your references. There are specific groups of people your agency wants to hear from including; clergy(or a boss), a family member, a friend, and a coworker. You will also be responsible for asking close friends or family to become certified babysitters and respite. Start this process as soon as you begin training because your babysitters and respite will all be required to have CPR/First Aid training and, regular and FBI background checks, plus the appropriate paperwork and government ID submitted. This can take a while to get all completed so don’t put this of until the last minute. You MUST have babysitters certified before you can be licensed so don’t put it off. It’s also rude and unkind to wait until the last minute. Offer to pay for your baby sitter and respite FBI background checks. This is the least you can do for all the hoops they are about to jump through for you. Your respite people will be required to complete all the requirements for your babysitters plus half of all the trainings you will take. Be gracious and kind to your babysitters and respite people. You will also be asked to submit photos of every room in your house plus pictures of yourself and all your family. These go in your file and are part of what your agency and CPS will look at when determining the best family for each child who enters the foster system needing a home.

You still praying? I bet your becoming a pro at it by now.

 

The Inevitable Doubt

I wanted to add this section because throughout our entire certification process Sam and I had plenty of doubts about becoming certified. This is completely normal. I would never want anyone to ever think that Sam and I just breezed through this LIFE ALTERING proccess without our fair share of doubts. Doubts mean you’re understanding and considering with seriousness the commitment you’re about to make. It also means you care. Just keep praying and be brave!

Complete Your Inspections

This the final phase of the training process. This includes all your inspections like the Fire Marshal, environmental, and(the not to be dreaded)home study. If you have a good agency then they will have held your hand and prepped you extensively and you should have no surprises or failed inspections. Both the fire marshal and environmental inspection checklists came in our paperwork and we knew exactly what each inspection would require of our home. There are no surprises here. They simply check the boxes on the check list and your done.

The Home Study

This is the most over hyped, demonized, horror storied part of the entire certification process. The home study is the final inspection you will complete and it’s not scary at all. Since you’ve had a fire marshal inspection and an environmental inspection(our agency pre-inspected our house to make double sure our environmental inspection would pass with flying colors) you will be extremely prepared for that portion of the home-study. If you’re with a good agency they will already have asked you a dozen times all the questions and topics that will be asked in your home study inspection. Have you lied about something from the beginning? Are you hiding something you don’t want anyone to know? Have you done something bad and are covering it up? if the answer to any of the question is ‘yes’ then you should be very worried about your home-study and I would just go ahead and tell you not to bother trying to get certified to foster–we don’t need your kind here. If you answered ‘no’ to all those questions then you don’t have anything to fear. When you decided to become a foster parent I hope you came into this with the right mindset; that mindset being that the government was going to go through every part of your life with a fine tooth comb. They are not going to bust down the doors of your life like a SWAT team, but they are going to find out all they can about you because–this whole process is not about you. This process is about the children and making sure their wellbeing is ALWAYS the first priority. I think most people’s aversion to the whole idea of foster care is because they have some skeleton in their closet they don’t want anyone knowing about–even if that skeleton is harmless. Embrace the home-study.

The Final Leg

Once your homestudy has been conducted you wait for it to be submitted to your agency, looked at, and filed into the system. It’s written by hand so it could take several weeks for your home study to be submitted. Now is the time to do bust out the confetti canon and celebrate the fact you made it to the end! Have fun and don’t sit around waiting to hear from your agency because you will drive yourself crazy. Celebrate all that you have accomplished!

Licensing Appointment

Your agency will call or email you that you have passed your inspection and schedule your licensing appointment. At this appointment you sign the final paperwork and file for your foster care licencing number. We received a giant binder full of pertinent paperwork our signed license, and other important information. You also go over all the burning questions you might have been itching to ask but just haven’t been relevant like; how does wic work, how long does it take to receive my placements Medicare number, how do I take them for their initial dr visits without their Medicare number, etc. You also get to meet your agency “case worker” who is assigned to you and is the person who works with you on every single one of your placements. It takes a couple of days for your liscnesing number to come back and be “live” in the system so again go and celebrate and have fun.

IT’S OFFICIAL YOU’RE FOSTER PARENTS IN WATING FOR A PLACEMENT

Once your licensing number is live in the system your family will be placed on the CPS vacancy list and now you are OFFICIALLY licensed foster parents. Once your family is live you will wait to be matched to a child who has come into the system via CPS. Your agency will call you as soon as they have a placement that needs you. For us, waiting for our first placement call was the most nerve wracking part so definitely fill up your calendar with things to keep yourself busy!

You made it all the way to the end of this blog post! Whew. That is pretty much the process in it’s entirety. Please remember that each agency and each state is different so a few of these processes and procedures might vary but overall the process will most likely be the same. I hope you are more educated and confident about how to start and complete the foster-care certification process. Please comment bellow with all your questions! I know there are bound to be a few!

Maegan

 

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The Dreaded Home Study: It’s Nothing to Dread