Becoming a foster parent offers you the life-changing opportunity of making a difference for a child in need. Although many different kinds of families can provide a stable environment for a child, it’s not an easy choice to make. Deciding to take on this rewarding responsibility is all about getting yourself and your family adequately prepared.
Make Sure Everyone Is on Board
It’s important to have plenty of conversations with your family about the fostering process, including young children. Help everyone understand why this child is coming and how the family can help create a positive environment. Then, talk about what potential challenges this child may have. In particular, your spouse needs to be as committed as you and ready to share in the emotional labor. The fostering experience can be a family project that brings everyone closer together.
Get Emotionally Ready to Nurture a Vulnerable Child
The children that need foster care are often dealing with past trauma or neglect. They need a lot of love and support to thrive and learn the dynamics of a healthy family. As a foster parent, you may initially find yourself giving and giving without receiving anything in return. Indeed, make sure you can adjust your expectations and try to understand this child’s reality. Children respond very positively to having stability and good role models. The biggest reward will be seeing your foster child making progress and becoming a part of your family over time.
Goodbyes Will Be Difficult for a Foster Parent
In most cases, foster care is designed to be a temporary solution, and the ultimate goal is family reunification. Many kids do end up going back to their parents or simply to another foster home. One of the hardest aspects of being a foster parent is knowing the child you have accepted into your family will likely be taken away eventually. Your role is to give this child a safe home during the time they’re in your care while accepting there will come a day when they move on.