Surviving the (foster care) Home Inspection

About once a month or sometimes more, our house has home visits by a social worker.  We're foster parents and "home invasions" are just part of the deal.  However, once a year, we have a *new* social worker in our home, the one who is responsible for licensing us.  It's her job to walk through our house and to make sure that it's still safe for children.  Today was that day.

As I was preparing my house for inspection, I was thinking "This is so strange- I need to blog it."  So, here's my list of 70 things to do to get ready for a yearly re-licensing inspection:

1) Schedule the home visit as early in the morning as possible to give yourself a fighting chance of "winning."

2) Repair all those "little things" that you've been putting off for too long.

3) Pick up kids' room and put them in their rooms for the night.

4) Frantically clean the house.  Aim for "we were expecting you."

5) Fall into bed.  "Pillow talk" consists of complaining how tired and sore you both are and a bit of competition about who is more tired/sore.

6) Sleep poorly (this seems to be important).

7) Wake to kids screaming.  Leap out of bed, praying that they haven't been awake long enough to "get bored" and make messes.

8) Feed children and dress them.  The dressing part is very important, because naked kids are a sign of neglect (right?)

9) Shower yourself, because a showered mom is a put together mom.

10) Clean up the messes the kids made while you were in the shower and they were supposed to be watching a movie.

11) Dress yourself.

12) Put on another movie and instruct the kids to watch it while you do the dishes.

13) Turn around to realize that the raisins you gave them for a "healthy snack" now look like poop nuggets in the carpet.

14) Ask kids to pick up and throw away raisins.

15) Go back to the dishes.

16) Finish the dishes and pick up the raisins.

17) Check the clock.  Half hour left until the appointment time.

18) Follow the kids around and clean up their messes.

19) Get asked by a kid if they can go outside.  Dress them for outdoors (coat, shoes, etc).

20) Realize too late that they're now wet.

21) Bang your head on the wall a few times and tell yourself that "It's ok because outside playtime shows that I'm a good mom."  It doesn't matter if it's true or not.

22) Kids decide that they're done outside.  Take off shoes and coat and put them away.

23) 5 mins until appointment time.  Begin spraying the room with essential oils (and water).

24) Sadly, relinquish the spray bottle to your daughter, who sprays happily for quite a long time.

24) Check the clock again.  Decide that you might have enough time to pee.  Get very happy when you finish and the social worker hasn't arrived yet.

25) Check outside.

26) Kids decide that they need to go outside again.  Bundle everyone up again and send them out.

27) Check the clock.

28) Check outside.

29) Decide that the house is "clean enough" and sit down to check facebook.

30) Check the clock.

31) Check outside.

32) Answer a question about when the social worker is coming.

33) Sit down at the computer again.

34) Check the clock.

35) Check outside.

36) Decide the house is as clean as its been in a long time and take pictures.

37) Check the clock.

38) Check outside.

39) Answer another question about when the social worker is coming.

40) Check the clock,  Okay, she's only 20 minutes past her appointment time.  She's probably lost.

41) Try to relax on the computer.

42) Check the clock.

43) Check outside.

44) Give kids a snack but ask them to eat it outside.

45) Anxious child decides that asking her to eat outside must be a very bad thing so she refuses to leave my side.

46) Instruct her not to get any crackers on the floor.

47) Check the clock.

48) Check outside.

49) Come back to the living room to see anxious child stomping one cracker into the carpet.  The clean house is starting to get to her.

50) Pick up cracker.  Hug child and tell her that everything is going to be ok.

51) Check clock.  Check outside.

52) Kids are now dumping out toys from the closet.

53) Put the toys away and negotiate with the kids about which messes can come out of the closet.

54) Attempt to call social worker to see why she is an hour late!

55) Fail to contact social worker.

56) Check the clock.

57) Check outside.

58) Field a call from the husband about "how the meeting went."

59) Wait some more.  Threaten to put the kids down for their nap "if she doesn't get here by __."

60) Check the clock.

61) Check outside.

62) Send the kids back outside.

63) Try to relax/do something

64) Check the clock.

65) Check outside.

66) Kids yell that a car just pulled up.

67) Try to look calm.

68) Watch out the window to see when the social worker gets out of her car, so as to not open the door too soon/eagerly.

69) Open the door and smile.

70) Say, "Hello."  The home inspection has officially began.

The "Good Enough" House Tour
 This is our mud room/dining room/homeschool room/dining room/craft room/storage room/office.  We call it the "Apple Room" for short.  It used to be decorated with apple themes but now it's more eclectic, mostly siding toward the "preschool" side..

 Through the wood door is the apple room.  Behind me in the picture is another door to the outside.  To my right is the toy closet.  The upper left is the DVD player/TV/computer stand.  Skimmer is standing in the kitchen area.  To the upper right of the picture is the hallway, leading to the bedrooms.  This room gets cleaned the most often, but it never really looks clean.
 I just wrote about our kitchen redecoration recently.  This room isn't completely clean, but it's '"clean enough."
We're renting our house, but we were so happy to see that this room didn't have carpet.  This is the toddler room.  As you can see, we have it as "wreck-proof" as possible.  I know it looks stark, but that's only because it's clean.  My husband build the airplane bed for Skimmer, and his aunt made his blanket (Disney Planes themed).
This is Dragonfly's bed.  The blanket was made by her aunt (Monsters Inc themed).  To the left of the picture is the climbing castle that takes up most of their room.  Dragonfly has been asking for a bunk bed lately.  Maybe if/when she gets her own room in a year or so.  I'm looking forward to decorating a girly room.  Right now, she's really into fairies.  I wonder if that will last.

Well, that's it for the tour.  Yes, we do have a bathroom, but it's not interesting enough for me to take pictures of it.  Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our life.

* Tadpole sleeps in another room, which I didn't photograph.  One day, he'll move in with the toddlers.  But, I'm not brave enough to make that move yet.

Update: I found this cute foster care inspection poem and thought I'd share.  Twas the Night Before a Home Visit


  1. HAHHA great list! I admit I have become SO lazy about the home inspections. Our poor worker nearly always has to remind me not to use extension cords or other such things. It is so stressful when they stop by!!

    PS Totally impressed by the bed your husband made!

  2. Thank you! It was fun to write and is fun to read every time I do.


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