Foster parents share the amazing characteristic of selflessness. But, not all foster parents share the same lifestyle, family dynamic, or beliefs. Welcoming a child into your home is a big decision and one that needs to be thoroughly analyzed.
The Spruce, a family life and living website, compiled a list of things that one should consider before becoming a foster parent:
Is my family ready?
Before registering and starting the process of becoming a foster parent, most families spend at least “2 to 3 years just thinking about it.” 1 There is a lot to do before taking that first step toward foster parenting: consider your state’s guidelines, start practicing patience, prepare your biological children, do plenty of research, and talk to families that have fostered before.
Am I a good communicator?
As a foster family, you will be communicating with many new people. You’ll be responsible for communicating and advocating for your child to a number of individuals, including:
- A foster child’s birth family
- Teachers and school officials
- Social workers
- Judges and other court personnel
- Other foster parents1
Am I ready for the challenging days?
The children in foster care have often experienced previous trauma, and are not in care foster care by choice. With this in mind, consider the best fit for your household when it comes to age, gender, and behaviors. The challenges of the foster care system are also with the system itself, something many people have not had to deal with before.
Can I help them with their grief?
Many times, a child in foster care will be grieving the loss of their home or family. “Grief is very personal and each child will go through grief at their own pace.”1 Your role as a foster parent is to help your foster child with their grief in a healthy way. This may require help from your case worker and some specialty trauma training to learn how best to deal in these situations.
Am I a team player?
Working as a team may be the most important skill to learn when becoming a foster parent. There are numerous parties involved with the process and communication is key. Your child’s team can help you find resources, work through issues, and guide you through every step of a child’s stay in foster care.
Foster parenting is a very rewarding, yet challenging, occupation. Make sure you are ready for the ups and downs. Review articles, speak to foster care agencies, and truly think about the decision before committing to the process. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is a great place to start. Follow this link for more information on becoming a foster parent: https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/children-and-families/services/foster-care/.