Some of the fears I am going to list below are in the "general anxiety" category. For the rest, I would love to hear from those who have been there (either with foster kids or bio kids) with any advice or guidance you have.
Without further ado, my fears, as I remember them at 11:30 at night:
1. General irresponsibility regarding sleep. I stay up too late, I hit snooze, I whine and moan when I do drag myself out of bed. Will I be able to respond appropriately when a kiddo has a nightmare? Will I hear if a kiddo gets out of bed in the middle of the night? What in the world will I do with an early riser?
2. Hair care. During training, we were told that "most of the kids in the system are African-American; a few are Latino." So chances are really good that the kiddo(s) who live with me will be African-American. I know that it is different to take care of African-American hair than my mostly-straight-but-frizzy-in-the-humidity hair. But I don't know the details. Are there special shampoos? Special washing directions? Frequency? What if a girl comes to me with braids or other fanciness? How do I take care of them? Help!
3. Toothbrushing and other general hygiene matters. In the grand scheme of things, this one is small. Really it is a subset of bathing, below, but because it is less "risky," I separate it out. I'm going to be licensed for kids from 3-10. At some point in that age range, a child who has grown up in a healthy home knows how to do for himself or herself all sorts of general hygiene matters--toothbrushing, the components of bathing (hair, washing body), proper cleanliness following toileting. So at some point in that age range, watching a child to see if he or she is doing each task "correctly" is inappropriate/embarrassing to the child. So how do you handle that? How much do you assume the kiddo knows (and then re-teach if it becomes necessary) and how much do you assume that you should start from scratch because then if the kiddo doesn't know, he's not stressed about needing to ask/admit he doesn't know?
4. Potty training. A three year old might come to me not potty trained, or might regress (or I might have a kiddo with developmental delays come to live with me), and I will need to work on potty training. I know that there are books on how to do this, and I wouldn't mind recommendations on those or just general tips (especially for boys, since I'm not one and don't have a grown one to help me). But more importantly, the very same kiddo who I might need to potty train might have been sexually abused. How do I keep the kiddo feeling safe while changing diapers (pre-pottty training) and then while helping with toileting?
5. Bathing. This relates back to potty training--a kiddo comes to me who has been physically abused, and the first thing I tell her is that she is safe and no one is going to touch her private parts, and then it's time for a bath and she's naked in the tub and, well, I've just broken my promise. How do you make bathing safe for a kiddo who is too young to bathe himself or herself? What about an older child (6 or 7) who you discover isn't (or doesn't know how to) cleaning himself or herself properly and needs help learning?
6. Toys. I am so nervous that I won't know what to do with the kiddos to play and support their imaginations and creativity. How do I know what is age-appropriate?
7. Discipline. All the theories and alternatives we learned about in training are well and good, but we had No Practice. No role playing, nothing other than a silly game of hot-and-cold to demonstrate positive reinforcement. And I don't know what these kiddos are going to come to me doing. I read all of your blogs and I'm definitely big-time in the naivete stage. Am I going to know what to do when I need to do it? Is the kiddo's social worker going to be a good resource or will I have to hide any insecurity from her (I'm assuming the social worker will be female based on my experiences with the agency)?
8. First-day timing (shopping, etc). Yeah, not such a big issue. I just think that there are so many things that will need to be done Right Away when kiddo comes to live with me: decompressing/grieving, a snack or dinner, introductions and a tour of my apartment, shopping for PJs and a toothbrush and a teddy bear and clothes (I'm assuming--maybe this won't be necessary), bedtime... how does it all fit into one afternoon? Do people who parent with another person have one stay at home with the kiddo while the kiddo cries and rages and whatever else she needs to do and the other parent go buy necessities? Do I go and buy the necessities before meeting the kid (but then the kiddo doesn't get to choose what gets purchased)?
9. Not being a good parent. Just in general. What if I'm a horrible parent and I mess the kiddo up more than if he or she never lived with me? What if I'm no good at this and then all my friends know that I'm not a good parent? What if I really am just selfish?
And so on.
* It's 11:30 pm, and if I cared to edit this after I write it, I would make this sentence much more coherent. But I don't anticipate doing that, so please forgive me.