While watching the inauguration of the Nation’s 46th President, and the first female Vice-President, I’m struck by the care, graciousness and efficiency in which the White House staff assist with the exit of one President and prepare for the next.

The dedicated team at the White House cleans, paints, moves furniture, places personal items, hangs clothes and prepares the official Presidential residence so that it feels just like home. Almost exactly how a family prepares for a child to enter their home.

Parents attend classes, participate in a vetting process and must meet the qualifications of that State of Colorado to earn the distinction as a foster family. This includes preparing their home with safety features and the child’s bedroom with furniture, clothes and personal care items. A sample is here.

Being a foster parent and foster family requires a level of dedication and commitment to care for a child, meet his/her emotional needs, ensure they receive proper medical care, attend to their education and above all keep them safe from harm and provide more love than ever imagined.

I remember the nervousness of waiting for our home inspection while my husband, Jeff, and a I were preparing to be certified for adoption while still living in Arizona. I was expecting someone stern, unfriendly and with a clipboard who would walk through our home and check off items on a list. Instead she was a friendly State employee who treated the experience more like a partnership than an inspection.

As it turned out we had a questionable smoke detector in the master bedroom upstairs. After a battery change that did not solve the problem, she suggested one of us run to the store and buy another device while she completes the remainder of the inspection. In the end, we passed and continued our journey.

A smooth transition with a foster child begins with advance preparation by the parents. Setting up the space for a child or children is key. Making them feel welcomed includes having a warm, loving home and a comfortable place to call home–even for a short time.