Becoming a foster parent is a major decision that needs careful considerations. So many children are growing in homes that don’t meet their specific needs. In fostering a child, you’ll be making a big difference in their life. The road to becoming a foster parent requires you to first and foremost meet the required qualifications. Being a foster parent isn’t necessarily difficult. However, it’s the various nitty-gritty stuff involved that makes it a tricky subject.
Here are some things you should know before fostering a child.
Fostering a Child May Require Support
Not so many people understand what it’s like to open your doors to a new child. Being strangers in your house, it’s important that they are made to feel that they are welcome and also as part of the family. The other thing to note is the fact that these children may have had some traumatic experiences prior to coming into your home. It is, therefore, important to work closely with a children’s department or a children’s aid.
In some places such as the UK, a certain amount of money is allocated to foster parents as a monthly stipend. According to Tahir Khan from PerpetualFostering.co.uk, carers of children that are in the pre-primary age group will be compensated with a starting rate of £130. This number can increase to £149.
The other support you may need is that of experienced foster parents. Most of them understand your needs better and can be there to answer some of your questions regarding foster parenting and also help you connect better with the foster child.
Involving the Biological Parents
As you provide tender loving and care to your new member of the family, it’s very important to ensure that you involve the biological parents if available. No matter how broken they may seem to be, they are still an important part of the child’s life. Irrespective of the bad decisions they’ve made in life, or the many struggles they’ve undergone, always remember that sometimes the primary goal of foster parenting is reunification. Ensure to respect the emotional aspect of the biological parents as they may also help in raising the child at some point. In some instances, however, you may find that the child wants nothing to do with their biological parents, perhaps due to violence and other unpleasant past experiences with them. In such a case, it would be only prudent to put the child’s interest first.
Distinguishing the Reality from the Training
Before you become a foster parent, you may have undergone some form of foster parenting training before your request was approved. All these lectures are important in helping you become the ideal foster parent. Nevertheless, all that training and theoretical sessions will never compare to the real-life experiences. There isn’t a realistic way of preparing you into becoming the ideal foster parent or even how to deal with the traumatic experience some of the foster children have. You’ll only need to be your best and still exercise a lot of patience.
It Can Be Hard but Satisfying
Fostering or adopting a child can be exhausting. It’s a process that sometimes stretches and changes you in certain ways. Fostering a child can in a way help you become the better parent you never thought you’d be. Nevertheless, this happens despite the many frustrations and sacrifices. Foster parenting is worth your every effort. At the end of the day, you’ve been given the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.
The Foster Child Needs To Belong
Despite the common misconceptions that sometimes surround the idea, you don’t have to be barren or unable to bear a child to become a foster parent to one. This means that sometimes the foster child may join a family where other kids, including agemates are present. To be the best at it, you need to create an environment where the kid feels that they actually belong and is part of that family. You need to treat the foster kid as your own by blood, just like the rest of your kids if you have some. If the other kids are at an age where they understand the facts, it is important to educate them and guide them into treating your foster kid as their kins by blood.
With all the challenges that come from being a foster parent, it’s important that you get all the necessary support you can get. And with proper training and the right information, it gets easier and even more interesting. You never know, you could be raising the future president of the most powerful nation on earth.