You love kids, you enjoy giving back to the community, and you have the time and patience to care for others who need help. So, it’s only natural for you to be thinking about the possibility of becoming a foster parent, but how do you know that you’re really prepared to open your heart and home? Here are some good indications you’re actually ready to parent children in foster care. You Have Separated Fact From Fiction
There are numerous misconceptions out there about foster children and the child welfare system. Many people are misinformed on everything from the requirements it takes to get approved as a foster parent to how children are placed and how they can be expected to behave in their new home. The truth is that the qualifications to become a foster parent aren’t as stringent as you might think. Financial security and a safe and loving environment are among the most important characteristics considered.
In addition, each and every child is different and will have their own background and set of emotions that affects their behavior. However, this will also largely depend on the understanding and support they receive from their foster family. Once you have done your research and are able to tell the truths from the myths, you’ll be ready to parent with an open mind.
You Are Willing to Work With Child Advocates and Birth Parents
As a foster parent, you will learn that there are many people involved in every child’s case, including their social worker and birth parents. To ensure the best interests of the child are being met, it is critical that you are willing and able to work with these people in a variety of capacities. This may involve home visits, court visits and visits with the biological parents, regardless what your personal feelings may be on the subject. Any of these types of visits can prove to be challenging but are all necessary for the foster child’s well-being.
You Aren’t in it For the Money
Surprisingly, there are plenty of people out there that still believe foster parenting is a great way to make some extra cash. While you will receive subsidies to cover some of the costs of caring for a child in foster care, oftentimes, it generally isn’t enough to compensate for all the expenses that naturally go along with having children and adequately providing for them. Knowing you’re financially stable even without the stipend is significant.
You Have a Support System
Foster parenting is one of the most rewarding, selfless acts anyone can do, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its challenges. A good support system is vital to successful parenting and feeling like you aren’t in this alone. This can include other family members, neighbors, teachers, friends and foster care support groups where you will find people who know exactly the kind of situation you’re in and can offer sound advice and share their own experiences.
You Understand There Will Be a Time to Say Goodbye
Your understanding of the goal of foster care is just as fundamental to foster parenting as any of these other elements. Most placements are meant to be temporary until a child can be reunited with their birth parents. Though it may certainly be hard to do so, having to say goodbye eventually is almost inevitable. Whether or not you feel you’ll be able to let go when the time comes will help determine if this is something you can realistically move forward with.
There are thousands of children in the foster care system, meaning foster parents are always in need. If you think you match the criteria, it’s definitely worth looking further into.