Is Fostering Right for Your Family?
If you and your family have a habit of reaching out to help others around you, then you’ve likely thought about becoming a foster family. Foster families are an important part of any solid community—as they provide a safe, loving environment for foster children to live in while they wait to return home or to be adopted.
If you have family members who live with you, then it’s important to consider whether foster care is an appropriate fit for your family members and lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know before you begin fostering.
Do You Have Resources?
It’s vital that you make sure that you have the appropriate resources to become a foster family. Like your biological or adopted children, foster children have many physical and financial needs that you’ll need to provide for. Do you have the space for extra groceries in your fridge? Do you have room in your car for a car seat? Do you have an extra bedroom for a foster child to sleep in? Do you have the financial means to support a foster child’s expenses?
Keep in mind that foster children may also have emotional needs, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re in an emotionally healthy and stable position to provide care. This will help you to provide the love, care, and attention that a foster child needs. If counselling is required for the child who lives with you, then you may need to provide transportation to those appointments as well as assist the child with any homework their therapist assigns.
Do You Have a Solid Support System?
Does your family like the idea of providing foster care? Are you ready to lean on one another when things get difficult? Being a foster parent can be quite challenging. At times, it can even be emotional. It’s vital that you have a solid support system that you can count on during this time. You and your family will all have shared experiences while caring for a foster child, so you need to make sure that you are all on the same page when you choose to bring a child into your home.
If your family is not supportive of fostering, it’s important to take the time to seriously consider whether it is the best choice for your family. Bringing a child into your home is a huge decision, and it’s important that you are all in agreement as to how your family will function with an additional family member.
What Are Your Expectations?
One of the most important things to consider when you’re thinking about fostering is what your expectations are. While there’s nothing wrong with having high hopes for how your foster child will behave and feel, it’s important to keep in mind that each foster child is different.
Depending on your foster child’s age, background and circumstances, he or she may struggle with the idea that they have to live somewhere else. They might feel angry, sad or frustrated. They might even lash out. Make sure you understand that things may not always be easy when it comes to raising a foster child. In fact, there will be times when you find the situation to be quite difficult.
Make sure you consider using an assessment process to make sure this is the right fit. Whether you want to bring a child into your home temporarily or long-term, you both need to be an appropriate match in order for the situation to work. It’s important to make sure you find a foster child with needs you can meet, but you also need to make sure you understand their personality and their background. If you are not familiar with children who come from abusive backgrounds, for example, you may want to reconsider bringing a child into your home with this type of background until you’re sure you can meet the specific needs that they have.
No matter what you decide, you’ll find that fostering can be an incredibly rewarding way to give back to the community around you. Many children do need homes, so if you are able to provide a child with a stable, comfortable, and emotionally supportive home, you may love being able to be a foster parent in your area.
If fostering doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a great fit, keep in mind that you may be a good candidate for short-term respite care or you may want to volunteer with local foster children to continue to offer support and encouragement as much as you can. Ultimately, any help and care you can provide will make a huge difference in the life of a foster child.
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