For many parents, being a foster parent is the only way they can experience the joys of being a parent. However, many parents have little to no idea on how the whole process works and may have misconceptions on what it really means to be a foster parent. In this article, we’re going to discuss five things every future foster parent should think about before they make the decision to welcome a child into their home.
You Might Deal with Damaged Children
Many children who enter foster care do so because of abuse, and you might have to deal with the emotional distress the child is experiencing. And since this is commonly the case, these children will often have emotional impairments which may difficult to figure out at first. It’s very important to remain patient at all times and try to understand the child’s circumstances. Understand that fear when entering a new home is perfectly normal, so don’t take it as a bad sign if the child is apprehensive at first.
Before you decide to welcome a new child into your home, you have to be prepared first. Do you have experience with children the same age and gender of the child you’re welcoming? Do you have significant experience with children with special emotional and physical needs? Do you have personal experience with trauma or victims of trauma? These are all things that will prepare you for your role as a foster parent.
You Might Not Always Get Accepted
Some parents have the strange idea that anyone can be accepted to be a foster parent. But organizations such as Children’s Bureau foster care have specific requirements for parents who want to get accepted. Many things such as mental capacities and health will be considered and every applicant will need to pass a psychological evaluation before they are accepted. Things such as financial stability and the level of stress in the home will also be considered.
Foster Children Usually Still Have Contact with Their Parents
One thing that many prospective foster parents aren’t aware of is the fact that many foster children still have family units. This means that regular visits with their biological parents may be expected. These visits will usually be supervised, but may switch to unsupervised and overnight stays once the parent shows progress in their treatment plan. Ultimately, the goal of foster care is reunification with the child’s biological family, and this should never be forgotten by foster parents.
Don’t Expect Too Much Financial Compensation
While compensation is to be expected when fostering a child, it isn’t as much as many people think. On average, foster parents receive around $16 per child depending on the state. So if you were thinking of fostering a child simply for the money, guess again.
Fostering a child can be a wonderful experience if you are well prepared for it. However, remember that the time spent with the child is only momentary and that you’ll have to deal with separation. Also, always remember that the final goal is reunification with the child’s biological parents and healing.