Many people approach foster care with misconceptions about what it entails. Some people stay away because they fear they do not have what it takes to be a foster parent. Becoming a foster parent is a noble calling and a very rewarding experience. There is no doubt about that. But it is also important to acknowledge that becoming a foster parent can be very difficult, so it is important to manage expectations. Fortunately we have tips to help you manage your expectations of foster care as you prepare.
Expect to make mistakes.
Managing expectations is about taking a step back and realizing that the perfect parent or foster parent is a myth. No one is perfect. Dr John DeGarmo, a foster care expert and foster parent, says that foster parenting is not about being a saint but trying the best to provide a home and a family to a child in need. Foster parents are imperfect individuals who open up their hearts and their homes to the children who need a safe place. It is important to work on yourself to make sure that you’re the best foster parent that you can be, but don’t expect to be a parent who never makes mistakes.
Expect your life to change.
Apart from opening your home, foster care is about opening your heart. Regardless of what your experience will be like, you can expect to grow as an individual. Many foster parents acknowledge that foster care is not easy but the work is needed and life-changing.
Expect to need help.
All parents need help and support. With foster care there are checks and balances to ensure the safety of the whole family and state documentation that needs to be up to date. Fortunately there is help available for you. We have a variety of resources available on our website to help assist you in getting the help you need. You can also contact us with any questions and challenges, we are here to help you.
Lastly, expect anything and always hope for the best.
Lastly, the best way to manage your expectations is to expect anything. Foster care will bring you in contact with children who have endured trauma. The reality of our society is that foster parents are needed to step up and fill in during some of the most dire situations of child neglect. Managing expectations is also about holding on to hope that the work you’re doing as a foster parent is going to be the catalyst for a better life for your foster children.
Managing expectations is about being better prepared for your new role as a foster parent.
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