So you are contemplating becoming a foster parent? What a BRAVE decision. You will be helping to fill an enormous void. You will have a tremendous opportunity to leave this world a much better place. By accepting, mentoring, and loving those innocent kids who find themselves in challenging situations – you will contribute to the betterment of this world.
Nothing feels better than helping an innocent kid find his/her way. Nothing is more fulfilling than giving a hug to a kid who desperately needs one. Nothing will ever compare to the love you will give and receive from a child who needs it so much.
Educating yourself as much as possible is the best way to prepare yourself for all the challenges and delights of becoming a Foster Parent. Here are a few tips that can help get you ready:
1. Investigate thoroughly the Foster Care system you will be working with. TFI Family Services, Inc. (Oklahoma, Nebraska) is one of the leading Foster Centers in the Midwest. Find out about the many resources they offer: Counseling, Educational Support, Visitation, and Family Care among many others. Take a closer look: http:tfifamily.org
2. Prepare your home for a new addition. Make the child’s bedroom somewhere they can feel safe and happy. Find out what colors, patterns and decor they will respond to Try to learn what foods they like and dislike. You are not expected to coddle them, but treat them as you would treat your very own child.
3. Be clear about your house rules. What schedule will you use? What are your rules for watching television, playing outside, homework, bathtime? Encourage them to help with housework; clearing the dishes, helping with laundry, keeping their room. All these activities help them feel included.
4. Find out what the goals and hopes for reunification with their biological parents are. Facilitate visits with them if at all possible. This will strengthen their bond with you, rather than separate you.
5. Be as involved in their schooling as you can. Speak to school counselors and keep in touch with their progress acclimating to their new situation. Help with homework, attend school events and arrange visits and activities with new friends.
6. Most importantly, make sure the child has access to a counselor. Often a foster child has had trauma and/or loss in their background. They will need professional help dealing with this. Be open to them discussing these visits, but do not pry. Be consistent with the child attending these sessions.
Following the above guidelines will help to ease the transition into becoming a great Foster Parent! If you are lucky enough to be working with the TFI Family Services, you will have all the support you need to succeed. Contact us today for more information!