Two out of three placements we've had something I did not expect at all after a new placement arrived: eerie calm.
Okay, it's not entirely calm. Babies need fed, changed, comforted constantly. Older kids get less attention. It gets noisy. But the calm part is the contact with our agency. Child arrives with basic information, and soon we're on our own. It doesn't feel weird at first, but then hours pass by, and it just feels odd that we have someone else's baby without anyone checking in with us. Family visits aren't set up yet, and we haven't met the birth parents. We usually don't know who our agency caseworker is (I remembered to ask this time, no luck).
If we had an emergency, I know what number to call, but it's not that. It's just this weird lag where we feel like we aren't in full swing with foster care again... and yet there's a baby in our house. There are lots of non-urgent questions. What solid food has he tried? How has he been falling asleep? Is there a special way to care for his hair and skin? Has he been evaluated for developmental milestones? I'll ask these things eventually, but it will feel a little late. And I won't meet birth parents until after I hear answers secondhand and they've been separated from their child for days. A friend was talking about how to make faster contact with birth parents to learn more about the child's daily life right away. Could we ask the CPS worker to call a birth parent and answer a few basic questions, all in goodwill of just wanting to help ease the transition for the child? Or is right after removal never the right time for a foster parent to talk to a birth parent? I did talk to Pterodactyl's mom in the hospital, so technically that was right at removal. But she asked to meet me, not vice versa. And even then, we really couldn't manage to say anything to each other.
So, during this lag time, I'm writing daily journal entries for birth parents. We shopped for the basics, knowing that clothing may or may not be coming. I'm keeping my week open, knowing it could fill up at any minute. And Caterpillar keeps giving me this look that I just know means, "Where is my mom?"