Published on July 12th, 2022
At the current time in the United States, there are nearly half a million children in foster care. In the UK, just over 1 million children are looking for a new family. So, if you are looking to foster a child, this is a welcome move that can make a difference in a child’s life for the better.
However, it is worth not underplaying the enormity of this. Fostering children can be a very tough process and it is worth having a conversation with your partner and your family before looking into taking this step
To help you along the way, here are some of the things to consider before fostering a child.
Healing Is Tough
When you foster a child, they will likely have come from a home or background where they were not given a lot of love or emotional support. Organizations like Foster Care Associates will advise you on the child’s background from the offset, but be aware, that it may take months or even years for your foster child to become settled.
If you feel that they need additional support to air their feelings and work through them, it can be worth asking the agency they came from about appropriate therapists.
Bad Behaviour Does Not Equate To A Bad Child
It can be hard for foster parents to accept that the new child in their home may come along with their emotional issues, which can flare up as angry outbursts.
You will have to be prepared for the reality that your foster child may initially break their toys, break objects in the house, and get in trouble at school.
This does not mean they are a bad child; they need love and understanding to work through a tough time and, once again, always ask for help if you are uncertain about the next step in their healing journey.
Can You Cope?
Having a child is a big step, and fostering a child is an even bigger one. Why? Because, unlike a newborn baby, the child you are fostering has had a whole life before you, and may have an issue associated with seemingly benign things, such as sleeping in the dark, or being hugged.
You and your partner (if you have one) will have to seriously consider whether or not you will be able to cope with this potential reality.
Do You Have Support?
Following on from the previous point, you and your family will need to consider if you have the support network in place to foster a child.
Do you have friends around you who can offer you advice, or a coffee shop break when you need it? Do you have family members who are willing and able to learn about your new family addition?
Mentoring Is a Good Start
If you are uncertain about whether or not you are ready to become a foster parent, then it may be better in the long term to become a mentor first. That way, you can get insight into what is potentially involved in being a foster parent, while also still making an impact.
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