The Top Misconceptions About Becoming a Foster Parent

When children are unable to grow up in a loving home, with their biological parents, in a safe and guarded community, unfortunate scenarios, situations, and misconceptions start to surface. Foster parenting is still wholly misunderstood by individuals today, leading to false information and myths about the process that can deter and misinform potentially interested parents.

Some things are certain: when children grow up without a safe and loving home, they may not be able to learn at the same rate as their classmates, process emotional difficulties, or maintain a physical health that is synonymous with happiness. However, that in no way should discourage any interested person from opening up their home to foster adoption.

Here are the top misconceptions about becoming a foster parent.

Myth #1: “I’m not married, so I can’t be a foster parent.” You can be single and still be a foster parent. You can be a homeowner or a renter as well. You just have to prove financially that you have an income that supports you aside from the money you are reimbursed for foster care.

Myth #2: “I’m too old to be a foster parent.” You can be a foster parent at any age. Many times, empty nesters are incredible foster parents, possessing the patience and knowledge to be a really supportive caretaker.

Myth #3: “Foster kids are too damaged.” Children are more resilient than adults, believe it or not. Your foster child may have endured atrocities, but foster parents can make a difference by providing a structured and nurturing environment. These kids deserve love and support to help them overcome their damaged pasts.

Providing a safe place for a foster child.

Myth #4: “I’ll be doing this with no help.” Wrong. Here at TFI Family Services, our agency works with you 24-7 to provide a constant line of communication, resources, and training that ensures you are never alone and without education. We cover everything from workshops to at-home visits, acting as friends helping you throughout the fostering journey.

Myth #5: “I’m not wealthy enough to be a foster parent.” We provide reimbursements daily for your fostering environment. Additionally, you do not have to prove wealth to be accepted as a foster parent. You need to prove financial stability for yourself. Children don’t need rich homes to be happy – they just need loving parents.

Myth #6: “I’ll get too attached.” Yes, you will get attached. But these children have suffered in a way that is not fair or humane. The least you can do is supply them with a love they have yet to receive in their lifetime. You’ll be attached, but it will be a beautiful attachment that you can carry in your heart forever.

TFI Family Services
Here at TFI Family Services, we provide you with total communal support, ensuring that any questions or concerns are answered quickly and timely. Don’t worry about doing this alone – it takes a village, and we know that.

5 Tips for Being a Stellar Foster Parent

You’ve made the decision to become a foster parent, and that is absolutely fantastic. Thousands of children in Kansas right now are in need of a foster home, and with only 2,000 being licensed and available at this time, there isn’t enough space for these deserving and beautiful kids.

If you’ve made the choice to be one of those foster parents, you probably have a lot of questions, concerns, and fears going into the process. You’re opening up your home to children that are not biologically yours, and that can be an unknown feeling for you. However, we’re here to help prepare you and support you during every step of fostering adoption.

Foster parenting skills

Here are 5 tips for being a stellar foster parent:

  1. Set Up a Support Team: No, you can’t do this all by yourself. You want a support team that is there to help you when you feel exhausted or discouraged. Make sure you have at least 2-people who will answer the texts and calls when you are in need of support. It will help assuage your fears.
  2. Communication Skills: As a foster parent, you might have to communicate with the birth family, teachers, therapists, judges, other foster parents, and of course the child. Communication skills are everything. It’s worth researching how to better development your communication skills before becoming a foster parent.
  3. Understand the Challenges: This is not going to be easy. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be prepared for the full challenge that is foster parenting. These kids have been abused and neglected. Children will communicate to you through behaviors, which can be difficult and dangerous from time to time. Try and learn as much as you can about your children, as well as their preferred form of communication.
  4. Grief Management: It’s worth brushing up on grief management and bereavement counseling techniques before you work with a child that is no doubt grieving on a level you can’t even understand. Be kind and supportive of them, working hard to let them know their grief is accepted and totally understandable – for as long as they need to grieve.
  5. Collaborative Skills: This is not a one-man-show. You have to learn how to collaborative with a lot of people while fostering a child. As a foster parent, you might be asked to attend meetings with a group of people. You want to participate and get all information you can to stay on top of your game. If there’s other family in the child’s life that wants to still be part of it, learn how to collaborate with them in a way that is safe and loving for the child.

Being the Perfect Foster Parent
No one has perfected the art of foster parent today. However, here at TFI Family Services, we provide you with the resources, education, and support you need to be as near close to perfect as possible. Don’t try and do this all by yourself; allow us and your support team to ensure the perfect parenting environment is established for these children.

Becoming a Foster Parent: What You Can Expect

Foster parents are needed here in Kansas, 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 up 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 prep for during your foster adoption:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Foster parenting is so important for a child.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.

TFI Family Services
Fostering, adopting, and parenting children is an incredibly rewarding, exhausting, and fulfilling experience. Here at TFI Family Services, 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.

How to Go About Becoming a Foster Parent in 2018

Right now in our home state of Kansas, there are over 6,000 children placed into out of home care. Yet, there are only 2,000 foster homes registered within the state of Kansas, creating a massive gap that contributes to children being placed outside of their home communities in shelters. When this happens to them, they lose their friends, family, schools, teachers, and connection to their community – which is critical for children living in a fostering situation.

Foster parents are direly needed right now, for children of all ages, to provide safe, nurturing, and supporting environments.

How to become a foster parent to this little girl

If you’re considering becoming a foster parent this year, here are a few easy steps for kick-starting the process:

  1. Be Prepared for All Outcomes: The commitment to being a foster parent is a permanent one. You need to understand that in many cases, fostering is not temporary. Yes, you need to provide temporary care, love, and nurturance to the children in any timeframe. But, you must also be prepared to serve as the legal guardian for the children while they immerse themselves in the community. You might even need to adopt the children in fully on their journey to achieve normalcy. Be sure you understand all of the implications that come with signing up as a foster parent.
  2. Understand Kansas Foster Types: In addition to the different demands of a foster parent, it’s also important to know that the state of Kansas contains: family foster parents, specialized foster care, treatment foster parents, intensive foster parents, adoption foster parents, and kinship foster parents. Feel free to look at the classification differences between the labels here.
  3. Complete Necessary Training: You need to commit to a certain amount of training before being regarded a foster parent by our system. We require you complete 30 hours of TIPS-MAPP Training or 21 hours of TIPS-DT Training. We also require you complete 3 hours of First Aid Training, as well as the Medication Administration and Universal precautions prior to licensure renewal each year. Lastly, you must complete a minimum of 8 hours of continuing in-service training per calendar year on subjects that promote their skills.
  4. Exhibit Unconditional Love: Before you make the final fostering step, you must reflect on the fact that you don’t have total control over which children at place within your home. You have to be able to love unconditionally, no matter the child’s age, sex, ethnicity, debilitations, or personality types. Unconditional love is the most important thing for these children at this point in their lives.

TFI Family Services, Inc.
Here at TFI, we’re happy to support you and promote success between you and the children in your home. We provide regular contact, respite, ongoing training, support groups, assistance, home visits, team meetings, and more to make sure you are reimbursed, educated, and supported throughout your foster parenting journey.