Our experience with J and Baby P taught us a couple of things:
1. We are NOT prepared for this. It's kind of like your first teaching job. You were a student teacher, you took all the classes and wrote all the papers, have some lesson plans prepared and all sorts of stuff, but then the first day of class arrives and you realize you have a lot of book smarts, but zero idea of what you're doing.
Even though all of our friends have been so amazing (a special shout out here to Val, who was a total lifesaver in more ways than one), and so giving, we found ourselves at a loss. At one point, I had baby P wearing a Harvard t-shirt and dinosaur pajama pants. I gave up on matching outfits about half way through the first day. She just kept throwing up on herself and everything I put her in, so I figured why bother? Mike thought it was cute outfit and I'd done it on purpose. He was totally wrong.
2. We underestimated our schedules. Between work and school, we are away from our home many more hours a day than we realized. When J and Baby P were here, we took a couple days off (the plan was to settle them in for a couple days while they were being registered for day care). However, we didn't have any back-up plan for when our schedules overlapped. This is where Val came in. Yay!
3. We are terrible at scheduling in general. We easily lost track of time and didn't do dinner or bedtime at reasonable times. Don't get me wrong, we made sure they ate! But, dinner didn't happen until well after 7pm. We do this to ourselves all the time. We get distracted and don't start dinner until late in the evening. But, we're adults, it's no big deal.
4. Going from zero kids to two kids was an insane idea. There was no time for transition. We went from lounging in bed on Monday morning to sleep-deprived emotional basket-cases on Wednesday. I think we could have handed either J or Baby P, but both of them together was so overwhelming. I've never been a parent. I became Tori's step-mom when she was 13, so my experience is very limited. I got a book and asked a LOT of questions... and managed to make it through one day. The last thing we did together before they went back to their grandparents was go to the park. J was super-happy there, and even Baby P was pretty pleased... she liked the baby swings, even though she threw up again. I was the worst "mom" at the park. My kids didn't have coats, snacks, water bottles, baby wipes... nothing. I managed to get myself and the kids to the park. Nothing else. I felt very inferior.
All of this being said, we have decided to slow down our process a little bit. While there are no shortage of children needing healthy and happy homes, we are afraid that we cannot be that home until we are a bit better prepared. Since we "returned" J and Baby P, we have received 16 phone calls and at least 5 emails (I might have deleted some) asking us to take other children. It's been 9 days. So, that gives you a good idea of how many kids are actually out there needing homes.
Once we have a better plan in place (and Mike wants to wait until his annual eval is done -- he stresses out over eval time), we will try again. We will probably only start with one child, but we will try again.