MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Being a foster parent can mean getting ready for a child in a matter of hours instead of months.
“You don’t have the 9 months of anticipation,” foster mom Jayne Apperson told News 19. “It’s just a call. I was at the Space and Rocket Center with my kids and got a call, ‘your next baby is here, come pick them up!'”
Apperson said this is not always the case, but when it is, it’s crucial to be prepared. Often times a child will come with nothing but the clothes on their back. This means foster parents are left to provide the rest.
Part of being a foster means getting financial compensation to provide for their placements, but Apperson said the money often does not arrive until months after the child, or children, enter a family’s care.
“Currently we have 2 foster children. We have a 2-month-old and a 14-month-old,” she said.
Apperson has fostered seven children so far. At one point, between her fosters and biological children, all of them needed diapers, which she said, was extremely pricey. She relies on those in her community to gift her diapers when they can, and inform her about local deals.
She also turns to community resources like the North Alabama Foster Closet for help.
Founder and Executive Director Kimberly DuVall said she sees many families like Apperson’s, pulling out of their own pockets to provide.
“Food, formula, diapers, clothes, shoes, jackets, school supplies, all that stuff,” DuVall said.
She also said many foster parents do not know what to expect when they get a foster, so having options is very important. DuVall mentioned inconsonance, skin sensitivity and even potty training regression are obstacles fosters may face with placements.
As a foster parent for many years herself, DuVall knows how challenging it can be for some families.
“50% of families who are trained and spend some time as foster families quit within the year and that’s a nationwide statistic,” DuVall said.
That is why organizations like the North Alabama Foster Closet exist, to provide everything from clothes, to toys, to diapers to help foster families get the resources they need so they can keep providing for their placements.
“I would say, honestly, we wouldn’t still be foster parents if not for these organizations that provide support like diapers,” Apperson said.
DuVall said it best: diapering is dignity for children, who find themselves in foster care at no fault of their own.
“Often, the children that end up in foster care have gone through unthinkable trauma. When foster parents are able to provide them with a clean home and clean clothes and regular diaper changes,” DuVall said. “It helps them to know they are valuable and they deserve to be treated well and to be cared for properly because some kids don’t know any better.”
You can help foster families and local Tennessee Valley families by donating during The Great Diaper Drive. You can donate monetarily or donate physical diapers, wipes at multiple locations around the area. Here’s a list of locations and here is how you can help monetarily.