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    This Foster Mom Is Going Viral After Sharing The Routine For Her First Day With New Placements, And It's So Sweet

    "These kids aren't trash... But they are told to put their clothes and sentimental items in trash bags when they move foster homes. That's just unacceptable to me."

    This is Brittany Burcham, a foster mom in Birmingham, Alabama who houses teenage girls placed in protective state custody. Children in need of emergency placements like these are often scared and confused, which is why Brittany's welcome package is both inspiring for aspiring foster parents and going viral for its extra human touch.

    Brittany smiling at the camera
    Brittany Burcham

    In a video viewed over 3.1 million times, Brittany shared what the first night with a new emergency placement looks like in her house:

    @fostertheteens

    #foster #fostercare #fyp #emergencyfoster #fostering #fostertheteens #fosterparent #nomoretrashbags #comfortcases #MakeMomEpic #IFeelWeightless

    ♬ Outdoors - Colin Tierney

    When speaking to BuzzFeed about each step she takes to make teens in her care feel welcome, Brittany shared the importance of offering them anything they may have forgotten when packing for their sudden arrival.

    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com

    "I learned what's needed in my welcome basket over time," she said. "When a kid is given a trash bag and told to pack their items [in] 10 minutes, most of them do NOT think about deodorant or a toothbrush. They're grabbing clothes, sentimental items, and their makeup. So...I have a foster closet stocked with [necessities], plus other [items] that I don't include in every basket but have available, like razors, underwear, socks, and hair products for my African American girls."

    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com

    After her new arrival is settled, Brittany likes to ask if they have a load of laundry they'd like her to wash.

    Having noticed all the children arriving with garbage bags full of their belongings, the 35-year-old also began gifting each teen with a duffel bag. "These kids aren't trash," she said. "Their clothes and sentimental items aren't trash. But we tell them to put them in trash bags when they move foster homes. That's just unacceptable to me. So, if a kid comes with trash bags, they leave with a nice big duffel bag that gives them the dignity they deserve."

    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com

    To break the ice, Brittany will take her foster child to a local Shake Shack, which gets them out of the house and into a neutral location. "There are other people and it's not just me staring at them and talking to them," Brittany reasoned. "We can eat and casually talk under twinkle lights on the patio, and it helps them relax and open up."

    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com

    "We talk about school, their best friends, favorite shows, and TikTok dances," Brittany continued. "And, if they bring it up, we talk about foster care and their journey. These are kids first and foremost, they have lives and personalities, likes and dislikes, and I have a box of conversation cards that we can use to talk about [prompts like], [what] if we had superpowers or what our dream job would be. If they want to talk about their case or foster care, we do, but I never bring it up first."

    To say that Brittany's video received a warm reception is an understatement. Her comment section is flooded with many offering her warm wishes and former foster care children who wish they had been in the care of someone like her.

    Foster kid here also NEVER had even close to this kind of experience. Thank you for being an awesome foster parent. It's such a scary moment
    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com
    I was a kid in the foster "care system" and it was a nightmare, I'm glad to see people like yourself actually being there for the kids
    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com
    bruh I would have cried if I got fuzzy socks and blanket on my first night why didn't I get someone like u
    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com

    Though she seems like a pro, Brittany is a relatively new foster parent. Her first placement came in October 2019, and she recalls being absolutely terrified. "I was so nervous that I wouldn't know what to do," she said. "My first placement was a 13-year-old girl who was being removed from an abusive home. I helped her feel comfortable and the next day ended up being Halloween, so I was at Target at 8 a.m. grabbing a onesie unicorn pajama and some glitter for her 'costume.'"

    Brittany holding a mug that says "Foster mom est. 2019
    Brittany Burcham

    In hindsight, Brittany recognizes "that the kid is just as nervous as you. And you're going to do something weird or wrong, but in the end, if you lead with love, the kid will feel that."

    Brittany holding a cat
    Brittany Burcham

    Her TikTok page, which is dedicated to life as a foster mom, has encouraged others to pursue this form of childcare as well.

    TikTok: @fostertheteens / Via tiktok.com

    "The first step to becoming a foster parent is to contact your local child services office and attend an info session," Brittany suggested for those interested. "If you aren't quite ready to be a foster parent, you can still get involved. Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate or mentor through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. If you're a photographer, you can take photos for your state's Heart Gallery, or financially support organizations like Comfort Cases, who is doing great work by eliminating trash bags for kids in foster care, and support your local foster families."

    Brittany Burcham

    You can also be like Shake Shack. Since discovering her video, the company has provided Brittany with a gift card that will cover every one of her teens' first-night meals. Gift cards, back-to-school kits, first apartment care packages, and more are great ways to support foster kids in your community.

    "These kids are wards of the state, so they are all our kids," Brittany said. "We owe them love, care, and safety."

    If you want to keep up with Brittany's foster mom journey, you can follow her on TikTok.

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