There are almost 500,000 children in foster care in the United States alone, and there are not nearly enough foster parents to provide adequate homes for them all. This fact has led many people to ask themselves whether they have what it takes and if they can handle what being a foster parent entails.
Over fourteen percent of children in the US live in some form of substitute family situation, so you may feel that fostering may be right for you. Before you decide, you must know as much as possible about your decision before going through with it.
To ensure that you are as equipped as possible to take on the responsibility of fostering a child, there are several things that you need to consider. Read on to learn what they are!
Will Your Family Adapt Well?
One of the first questions that you will need to ask yourself is whether or not you feel that your family and life would adapt well to having a new child.
You’ll need to be able to afford them proper care and support, and they’ll be unable to go anywhere else if you decide that foster parenting is right for you. This also means considering who in your household might struggle with the idea of welcoming another person into your lives so suddenly.
Older children may have trouble adjusting if too much time elapses between finding out about this new addition and their arrival. New spouses or partners must be taken into consideration as well. Foster parenting is a big decision that will not end well if things go south with someone new.
Are Your Living Arrangements Suitable?
If you think that your family can handle an additional child, then your living arrangements are the next thing on your list of factors to consider.
If you rent an apartment or house, does it have room for another person? Would you be able to make any renovations to accommodate this new member?
Do you own a home, and would having a foster child impact its resale value? How much land do you own, and how many other people live there along with yourself?
All of these questions must be thought through before even setting up an initial meeting with the agency handling foster care in your area.
What Impact Could It Have On Your Career?
If you want to take in a foster child, you’ll need to consider the impact of becoming a foster parent on your career.
Can your employer accommodate flexible hours if you work outside the home, or can you work from home when necessary? Do you want to take the time to go back to school to make yourself more marketable?
What is your backup plan in case things do not work out the way you think they would? What methods do you have to combat whatever bumps you may find along the road?
Are You Prepared To Become a Parent?
Before deciding whether or not to become a foster parent, you must consider how well prepared you are.
Many people think of the process as simply getting a home study done and then handing over some toys or bedrooms to an agency. However, foster parenting is more involved than that, especially if you are considering adopting.
You’ll need to get your finances in order, get the proper insurance for yourself and any children who live with you, and make arrangements for any pets that you may have. You’ll need to get copies of all essential documents like birth certificates and wills into a safe place should they be needed somewhere other than where they usually reside.
Research what kinds of activities might be appropriate for the age group that you are interested in working with so that their time can be well spent while living under your roof. Finally, but most importantly, try to avoid making rash decisions about becoming a foster parent without having all the information.
How Much Effort Is Needed?
On top of these factors, you should consider how much effort is required to foster a child.
It can be an enriching experience with the best foster parenting tips, but there are some things that you may need to sacrifice along the way. Like time for yourself and your partner, sleep, especially if you take on infants or toddlers, and money for all the expenses.
You may not receive any direct payment for caring for these children unless placed with you through kinship care, which doesn’t happen overnight.
You’ll also have to go through foster care training to get certification and the right mindset that will help you become an excellent foster parent. If you feel up to it after preparing adequately, then foster parenting might be right for you.
Are You Patient Enough?
Is it hard to become a foster parent? Foster parenting may not be that hard, but expect some challenges when taking in a child who may have come from a traumatic background. Children may lash out at you and refuse to listen to basic instructions. They may even regress into baby-like behaviors because they’ve survived a traumatic event.
They may have trouble sleeping, eating, and going to the bathroom at the correct times of the day or in the appropriate locations. Being a foster parent means being patient with these kids while they heal from their deep-seated issues.
Should I Become a Foster Parent?
There are many reasons why people consider foster parenting. There are even more benefits of opening your home and heart to children who desperately need it. You’ll get to provide love and affection for children who are in need.
These kids have probably been through some tough times before coming into your home. Providing them with stability will be one of your main focuses as their new parents.
If you feel that you’re up for it and would love to foster one or more children, get in touch with us, and we’ll work together to get some children a new home.