It’s easy to come up with reasons you COULDN’T be a foster parent . . . but what about reasons you COULD?
You Are Needed
There are approximately 415,000 children in foster care in the United States at any given time, and nearly 100,000 of them are available for adoption. Individuals and families are always needed to provide the love, stability, and support children in crisis desperately need.
You Love Children
Love can’t take away or fix the hurt kids in foster care have experienced but it sure does help. All children need and deserve unconditional love. Loving children and wanting to see them flourish is the first prerequisite for anyone considering becoming a foster parent.
You Are Stable
Children in foster care have been uprooted from their homes and families. A foster parent should be financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally stable before taking on the needs of a child who has experienced trauma.
You Are Patient
All children test boundaries. This testing behavior is often exaggerated by children in care. They have been mistreated or neglected so they want to find out if you are trustworthy. Earning the trust of a child requires consistency and repetition.
You Can Advocate
As a foster parent, you will see and experience your child’s needs, behaviors, and challenges firsthand on a daily basis. It will be your duty to speak up and speak out for the child in your care to ensure that she is receiving the medical attention, academic support, and other assistance she may need to thrive.
You Have A Support System
Foster parents need a support system they can lean on. A strong support system can be a great encouragement for both you and your child. Friends and family can assist with childcare, homework, mentoring, transportation, and be source of unconditional love in the best and worst of times.
You Know Yourself
Potential foster parents should have a strong sense of self when entering into care. Your confidence when challenged will provide the child in your care with a feeling of safety and security in the midst of the chaos surrounding him. Knowing and holding fast to your beliefs, values, and desire to do the right thing can sustain you through the tough times.
You Can Ask For Help
Children who have experienced trauma can be difficult and knowing when you need to seek help is essential. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or that you can’t do the job. Rather, it is proof that you will do whatever it takes to give your child the best chance at life.
You Are A Team Player
Foster care is a team effort. Most children in care have a group of people looking out for them. Foster parents may work with caseworkers, teachers, advocates, counselors, medical professionals, lawyers, judges, and birth parents. Ideally, everyone would work together toward the same goal, but it doesn’t always work that way. Being able to cooperate, negotiate, and work alongside people who are very different from you are skills that the best foster parents hone for the good of the child.
You Practice Self Care
Even if your child has few challenges, the system itself can be draining. Laws and policies will govern your every decision and action as a foster parent. How slowly or how quickly things are moving can be frustrating and there may be times when you feel that they working against you. To be a great parent, you must make time for yourself and your relationships. Veteran foster parents know that they can’t be at their best if they are over-stressed or emotionally spent. Taking advantage of respite care, time away, and even making the time to read or take a bath can help foster parents refresh, refocus, and remember why they are committed to caring for children in need.