Becoming a foster parent is a noble and serious commitment. Before you take on this new responsibility, it is important that you are aware of some important considerations. Unfortunately, sometimes foster parents are not given all the information they need upfront. So, what are things no one tells you before becoming foster parents? Let’s take a look.
Prepare for the Home Study
The home study is a crucial part of the foster parenting process. This is also a necessary step to becoming legally licensed as a foster parent. You and your partner will first complete a questionnaire and undergo several in-home interviews. There can sometimes be a total of five interviews. These interviews will help the licensing agents better understand you and your partner and the home life you could provide for a foster child. Questions can include details concerning your:
- Past relationships
The Training Process
A great deal of training goes into becoming a foster parent. There are many rules involved that you will need to be familiar with and understand how to apply on a daily basis. You can expect to undergo about 15 hours of face-to-face education about the rules and regulations for safe foster parenting. In addition to this initial training, you can also expect to have yearly training sessions.
Foster Parents Are Just Regular People
Many people are under the impression that to be a successful foster parent you need to be a superhero or something. The truth is, foster kids just need regular people who are willing to show them kindness and care. Anyone with a good heart and a safe home can become a foster parent.
Be Prepared for the Challenges
Foster children are coming out of bad circumstances. These bad circumstances will affect them both physically and emotionally. It is very important that foster parents be prepared for the challenges that will come with this. Challenges can include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Eating difficulties
- Trust issues
- Behavior issues
- Learning challenges
It is a good idea to go into your foster parenting experience with eyes wide open.
You Will Need Support
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will be able to do the whole foster parenting thing on your own without any support. There will be a lot of support available for you when you become a foster parent. It is up to you to use that support wisely so that you do not get overwhelmed or burned out. Connecting with long-term foster parents and getting their tips to becoming a foster parent will be a great form of support.
Biological Family Considerations
It is also imperative that you remember your foster child has a family. In some cases, this family is working hard to be reunited again. You need to serve as a helpful resource for this end goal of reunification. Be sure you are not doing anything that would hinder this progress, but also be sure to alert the proper people if there are concerns about reunification.