There are several questions you need to ask yourself prior to becoming a foster parent. After gathering information from a foster care agency, you might ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have a support system such as from friends and family? This is important, as fostering a child can become very challenging at times. It's helpful to have someone close to you who will listen if you need to vent and just be there for you, to support you if you need it. If you don't have a support system already in place and decide to go ahead with your plans, be sure to participate in support groups. Many agencies hold their own support group meetings. If not consider starting your own with other foster parents.
Are you a patient person? Are you willing to give continually with the knowledge that you are helping a family and a child have a better life. Many people enter foster care thinking that they are rescuing a poor child from an abusive parent. These foster parents believe that the child will be grateful and relieved to be out of their home situation. This is rarely the case. Abuse is all that the child may know. The child's bad situation could be his/her "normal." Be prepared for the child to be anything but happy about being in your home. In other words, examine your expectations. What are you expecting? Not only from the child but from his or her parents and the fostering experience itself?
Kids in care have sometimes been neglected, physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally abused. The children can be angry, resentful and sad. They may take it out on their foster parents. Are you willing and able to deal with all this and coupe when it gets tough? Are you willing to have social workers visit your home on regular occasions? Can you work in a partnership with a team of professionals to help the child either get back home or to another permanent placement, such as adoption? This goal requires excellent communication skills on your part, and a commitment to follow the plan set forth by the social workers.
Are you willing to say goodbye? Foster care is not a permanent arrangement. It’s easy to become attached, but remember, children will move on someday. Attachment is a good thing, for both you and the child. If the child can attach and trust you, they will be able to do the same with others in their lives and this leads to a healthier future. Saying goodbye does not have to mean for forever. In some cases, with permission from the birth parent or adopted parent, a relationship with your foster children can remain intact after a move.
If you already have children, how do they feel about you fostering a child into your home? You need to consider all members of your family when considering becoming a foster parent. Ask your children how they feel. Also, be aware that your child may learn or pick up whatever the foster child knows, both the good and the bad and vice versa.
If you can say yes to most of these questions, then why not get in touch with us at Viola Fostering Services.