Becoming a foster parent is one of the most wonderful things you can do for the thousands of children going through the foster care system every year, especially if this is a calling for you and you genuinely want to help.
You do have to know that becoming a foster parent comes with a few challenges, and while none of them are insurmountable, you have to know about them before you get started so you can prepare for them. The better you are prepared, the greater the chance you’ll enjoy the experience and the stronger the bond will be between you and the children you foster. Let’s take a look at some of the things you have to be prepared for when becoming a foster parent.
It’s a Full-Time Commitment
You must first evaluate your lifestyle and see if you are ready to sacrifice some of that precious “me-time” for your foster children. This is especially important if you’ve never had children before.
Speak to people already fostering or a fostering agency if you don’t know any foster carers, to begin to understand what life will be like once you welcome a foster child into your household. You will also need to start building a support system around you to make sure you have people who can help you out when you need it.
You should also get support from the foster care team you decide to work with too. A good team will be there to provide support 24/7 and will have various resources including support groups and training to make sure that you are the best equipped for the job. If you’re looking for a great independent foster care team that will guide you every step of the way, you can check out Orange Grove Foster Care.
Every Foster Child is Different
Foster parents can build really great relationships with their foster children. But every child you welcome into your home is going to be different. Some children may be quiet and reserved and prefer to spend time alone, while others may be comfortable spending time with you from the get-go.
If the child you welcome doesn’t seem to connect as much as you expected, you have to let the relationship develop at its own pace. In the meantime, continue to give them the best family environment possible to grow in, and don’t hesitate to speak with the foster care agency if you need additional support.
The Main Goal is Reconciliation
Contrary to what many people think, the foster care system doesn’t seek to separate children from their parents. The goal is to protect the children while helping the parents become better parents. As a foster parent, you may need to facilitate contact between the child and their birth parents, depending on the child’s care plan. This can be quite an overwhelming or upsetting experience for children that can impact their mood.
As a foster parent, you have to be ready to support them if they come back upset from a parent meeting that has let them down. You have also to be ready to support them if they start expressing a real desire to go back with their biological parents.
Becoming a foster parent is a noble mission and you should be congratulated for your commitment. You do have to be ready for what comes with that responsibility, however, if you want to be the best foster parent that you can be.