A quick internet search will lead you to a plethora of articles about what it takes to become a foster parent. These articles are full of important things to contemplate. Here are some biggies:
1. Do I Have The Time? Children and youth take time—there’s no way around that. Whether biological, adopted, or foster children, by definition, they are dependents. This means that you are responsible to care for them, and that they depend on you to give the time required to meet their needs.
2. Do I Have The Room? Am I willing to give up some of the space in my house to give to a foster child? Certainly a bed is required. But with the trauma associated with being placed in foster care, a child needs to feel like they belong. Belonging includes space. Feeling like an intruder with no place to call your own is not effective in healing from abuse and neglect.
3. Do I Have The Financial Resources? Although a small stipend is attached to the caring of each foster child, most good foster parents say that they dip into their own pockets to provide appropriate clothing, school supplies, food, and more for the children they care for.
4. Do I Have The Emotional Resources? Children in foster care have been neglected or abused. This means they are in need of an extra portion of attention, love, care and concern. If I’m already drained, will I have what it takes to help a child heal? How can I fill my emotional cup so I’m prepared to give unlimited care and love without the immediate prospect of receiving it back?
Although these are important considerations, there’s really one question that stands out as the most important:
5. Do I desire to make a positive difference in a child’s life?
If the answer is yes then all the other requirements and considerations will fall into place. When the desire is real and the love is sincere, somehow finances work out, space is created, and time is set aside to effectively parent a child who is in foster care.
Foster and adoptive parents, is there anything you would add to this list?