#BLOGTOBER DAY 21 – Is Foster Parenting Right For You?
Deciding to foster a child could be the best thing you do today. Not only will you gain the personal rewards from doing so, but the child that is placed into your care will also benefit from the love and support you can offer them. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. While fostering does have many blessings, know that there are challenges ahead. If you have been thinking about fostering, ask yourself these questions first.
Is your home ready for a foster child? Your foster child will need a room of their own, so you will have to consider renovations if you need to create an extra bedroom. Child-proofing is vital, so you will have to take steps to make your home safe. The fostering agency will guide you into any alterations that need to be made, but it’s still worth knowing that your home will be inspected to make sure it’s a safe and comfortable environment for a foster child to move into.
Do you already have a family? If you have children of your own, you do need to consider their needs. They will be sharing their home, toys, and parents with the foster child, and this can be a testing time for them. And considering some foster children exhibit difficult behaviours because of their upbringing, you also want to ensure your children are safe too. Again, you will get advice from the fostering agency you choose, but it’s still worth sitting down with your kids and talking to them about the prospect of a new addition to the household before going through the application process.
Do you have a support system in place? Fostering can be very stressful, whether you are an experienced parent or not. As we said, you may have to deal with challenging behaviour, as well as the daily demands of looking after a child. The fostering agency will be on hand to help you, and they will have support groups in place where you can meet with other foster parents. However, you might also want to draw your own support network together. Be they friends or family, look for anybody who will be able to offer you both moral and practical support.
Are you able to say goodbye? Fostering is not the same as adoption. When bringing a foster child into your home, they may only be with you on a temporary basis. It generally depends on their home situation and the reasons why they have been put into the fostering system in the first place. In some cases, the child will only be with a short time, which can be difficult if you have built up an attachment. You need to be ready to say goodbye, and this isn’t easy for some of us. It doesn’t mean you will break the relationship you have formed; you may still be able to stay in touch with them, but if you are looking for something permanent, then adoption may be the right thing to consider.
Fostering can be incredibly rewarding, but it needs to be right for you and any children who will come into your care. Get in touch with us if you have any questions, and/or speak to a fostering agency and other foster parents to learn more about the fostering process. Good luck on your journey!