Recently, Stacey Jackson Gagnon, a mom who has been fostering children for over 10 years, "hit bottom." After welcoming three new foster children, all siblings, into her home, a slew of illnesses, a bout of sleep deprivation, a flat tire, and "lots of poop" drove the mom a bit deeper into the trenches all parents take residence in. Because she says she was "in so deep" she had no idea what she even needed to remedy any of her struggles, the mom is sharing what her friends did to help her gain back some of her sanity and get to the other side of a difficult few days in one piece — and they're things anyone can do to help a fellow parent who's in over their head, especially if they're fostering.
"I decided to list the things they did, because I feel like I can see the light of day and I'm no longer sobbing in the shower. I think this list may help us to truly help," Stacey wrote on her Facebook page. "So if you know of a family that gets new placements or brings home a newly adopted child, do this:
- Call and tell them to leave their laundry on the porch and you will pick it up and return it.
- Take them dinner, or drop off a pizza and box of diapers.
- Ask to take some of their older children to do something fun.
- Find out the children's sizes, and help round up essentials (foster children generally come with only the clothes on their backs).
- Come over, and clean their house.
- Take down their Christmas lights.
- Call and ask them what they need from the store, or see if they need an errand run.
- Just use your talents. A fellow foster mama swung by my house and took the newborn to go do a newborn photo shoot at her studio (pictures that become priceless as they grow)."
Although not all of the above things apply to every parent's situation, Stacey's friends' actions can serve as a general guide for anyone looking to be helpful to their fellow parents. "This week my village stepped into the trenches and sat with me. They didn't ask me what I needed, they just started providing. It truly takes a village, and I'm so grateful for mine."