Foster parents are needed across the country and across the world today. Children are left in difficult situations, without families, supportive parents, and communities that ensure their safety and happiness moving forward. Thankfully, people exist in the world that are ready to open their homes to the foster children in need of love and encouragement during their upbringing.
If you’re one of these people, you are probably wondering what you can expect during the fostering journey. Here are some of the most rewarding and important elements to prepare for during your foster adoption:
- Attachment: You will become attached, incredibly quickly. If you think it’s possible to remain indifferent looking forward, think again. You will become attached, and that is not a bad thing. As humans, we’re programmed to feel connection to other humans, to children, and to animals. Let down your guard and allow yourself to love your foster children, even if they are to leave you in the future. The more love you can provide them, the better off they will be in the long run.
- Gossip Temptation: If a child ends up in foster care, that obviously means their parents or legal guardians weren’t able to answer the call. It’s tempting, as a foster parent, to want to bad mouth the people that hurt this poor child. However, nothing is more damaging for them than to see their new parents bad mouth their old parents. Children are incredibly malleable, so try and resist the urge to gossip about their past – even if the parents are certainly deserving of such language.
- Exhaustion: This one goes without saying – raising children is exhausting. It’s a 24-7 job, especially with children that are not your own. You need to learn about them, their customs, their habits, and their backgrounds. It will take time. These kids may have problems you have never even heard of – or they may face discrimination and bullying for their skin tone in a way you don’t know. Be receptive, and be prepared to be exhausted.
- Plan for Breaks: In addition to exhaustion, you need to accept that every so often, you need a break. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Have a support system in place, either with your sisters, brothers, babysitters, or parents, who will come in and watch the children for you when you need some time to recharge and refocus. It’s better for the kids in the long run if you know how to unplug now.
Fostering, adopting, and parenting children is an incredibly rewarding, exhausting, and fulfilling experience. Here at TFI, we understand this better than anyone, which is why we provide you with support, insight, and resources to be successful throughout the duration of the foster parenting journey. This is exactly what you can expect when you decide to make the fostering decision.