When one is considering becoming a foster carer, they are immediately faced with plenty of information and have concerns. Some of the information is true, while other are not.
One day I came home from working at our local children’s home and asked my husband what he thought about becoming a foster parent. He had numerous fears and logical concerns. Many men are good about the latter, logical concerns. We decided the best first step was to take the training classes and go from there. Several months later, we were so nervous when we drove ourfirst foster child home, but we knew we had taken stock of our skills and limitations and decided that we were ready to becomefoster parents.
After gathering information from your state’s foster care agency, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a strong support system of friends and/or family? This is important, as fostering a child can become very stressful at times. It’s good to have someone who will listen if you need to vent. If you don’t have a support system already in place and decide to go ahead with your plans, be sure to participate in support groups. Many agencieshold their own support group meetings. If not consider starting your own with other foster parents.
- Are you a patient person? Are you willing to continually give and very rarely get anything in return, except for the knowledge that you are helping a family?
- Many people enter into foster care thinking that they are rescuing a poor child from an abusive parent. These foster parents believe that the child will be grateful and relieved to be out of their home situation. This is rarely the case. Abuse is all that the child may know. The child’s bad situation is her “normal.” Be prepared for the child to be anything but happy about being in your home. In other words, examine your expectations. What are you expecting? Not only from the child, but from his or her parents, the state and the fostering experience itself? High expectations can lead to your fall!
- Kids in care have sometimes been neglected, physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally abused. The children can be angry, resentful and sad. They may take it out on their foster parents, usually the foster mother. Are you willing and able to deal with what the children may put on you, and not take it personally? This is harder than it seems, especially when you are being kicked or cussed out.
- Are you willing to have social workers in your home, sometimes every month? Can you work in a partnership with a team of professionals to help the child either get back home or to another permanent placement, such as adoption? This goal requires excellent …