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I had just gotten back from a week-long all-inclusive trip to Mexico with my girlfriends as “a gift from me to me” for my 30th birthday. I stood next to my husband at a gender reveal party for one of my besties as she was excitedly popping balloons to determine the sex of her future baby. Pop! Pop! After getting married and hitting the big “3-0” I was starting to feel a little pressure to start a family of my own. Pop! I was also feeling a little betrayed because this friend was supposed to wait for me so we could be “pregnancy buddies.” In typical ADHD fashion, I wanted a little more time to “get my life in order-” whatever that means. Maybe paint my house, save some money, who knows. POP! Pink confetti falls from the balloon. It’s a girl.
Little did we know we would also be getting a little girl very soon…but not how we planned it.
Now there are a million “baby lists” out there. However, most of these lists assume that you are pregnant, have 9 months to prepare, will have a baby, and start out with a newborn.
Listen, parenting is hard. Having ADHD is hard. Being #extra, well it’s who I am. If you ever get a 9-month-old baby dropped at your house with little more than a plastic Macy’s bag containing a few onesies, a sock, and half a can of formula, fear not, for I bring you the first list of its kind: 7 Must-Have Supplies for the ADHD Foster Parent.
1. Avery Durable View Binder, 2″ Slant Rings, 500-Sheet Capacity, DuraHinge, Pink. $12.81
First, if you ever become an instant foster parent, the most important thing you need to do is WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN AND SAVE EVERYTHING. Second, if you don’t think you need it, or if you think you will remember the information, trust me, the future you need it. Get the “durable” variety and use the clear page protectors for important documents. You will be schlepping it around to pediatricians, daycare, court, and meetings with every social service imaginable. Insert some pretty cover art to motivate yourself to stay organized.
2. Carter’s Unisex Baby Fleece Sleep Bag $14.21
I can tell you that thanks to the Department of Children and Families, we went from knowing nothing about “safe sleep” to expert level in about one week. If part of your ADHD struggle means never being caught up on laundry, buy 8 of these. If you’re purchasing foster parent supplies, be sure to select gender-neutral colors. This way, when your FD turns 1 and can use a blanket like a real human, you can store these in your attic for her future baby brother that you swear you won’t also foster, but actually will.
3. Gallon Ziploc Slider Storage Bags, 60 count $7.48
Sorry environment. I’m 100% that bitch drinking her Dunkin’ medium iced latte with a reusable metal straw. However, the ADHD side of me hates washing things and needs to be able to see everything easily to stay organized. These bags are the ultimate foster parent supplies and work for everything from diaper bag organization to returning your foster child’s hideous clothing back to her parents after visitation. Leave one in your car with a few diapers and a package of wipes for the days when you forget your diaper bag and need to run 1000 errands before going back home.
4. Nuby Chewy Charms Butterfly and Flower Silicone Teether $6.70
When your foster child’s biological parent starts complaining about her pacifier usage literally one day after her first birthday, these will become your best friend for teething and general self-soothing. The experience of going “cold turkey” on pacifiers is pretty miserable. As a result, I recommend buying at least one of these for each car + one for your diaper bag + one to get lost under your sofa for 3 months. They also double as a stylish bracelet and can go in the top rack of the dishwasher.
5. Camelbak Eddy® Kids .4L 2 pack bottles $20
There is no such thing as a “spill-proof” cup for a child. However, this is about as close as you can get and are the ULTIMATE in foster parent supplies. Your foster child will begin to associate her parents with juice. You should break the habit by offering plain old water in a fun bottle. The packaging says ages 3+ but as soon as your child can drink from a straw you’re good to go. No joke we probably own 10 of these, 3 of which are in my disorganized car at this very moment. Part of succeeding at parenting with ADHD is leaving “gifts for your future self.”
A half-full bottle of toddler-germ tap water tastes like Evian after you realize it’s 4 PM and you accidentally skipped breakfast and lunch. You don’t even look THAT stupid drinking from it unless you buy the glitter unicorn option.
6. Resolve Spray ‘N Wash Max Trigger 16 oz (Pack of 7) $29.89
If this is your first experience in the world of parenting, I regret to inform you that children produce an astronomical amount of dirty laundry. I swear they smear their food onto their clothing for revenge. If you’ve ever held an impromptu funeral (complete with trumpet accompaniment) for a toddler shirt you literally just ripped the tags off of that morning, you need this. If you belong to one of those wholesale clubs just buy a whole damn pallet of it because you will require no less than 1 bottle a week just to scrape by.
7. Lavender “Twilight” Bath bomb by Lush $6.95
Finally, if you’ve made it to adulthood with ADHD then you know by now that lavender-scented anything is your Literal Best Friend. Everyone has coping methods. If you are a foster parent, there is a shortlist of legal and socially acceptable ones to choose from. My husband likes to do paint by numbers on his phone. I prefer to take a long hot bath. Realistically, the foster care daily reimbursement should be increased by $6.95. Every exhausted and anxious foster parent deserves a handmade, ethically sourced, vegan bath bomb at the end of the day.