Thousands of families throughout the world consider fostering a child each and every year. It takes a special kind of family with the space and time to accommodate a new member to the family, whether on a long or short term basis.
Before you consider applying to a foster agency in your local area, there are certain factors to take into consideration, helping you identify if fostering a child is the right thing for you and your family moving forward.
The first thing you will want to do is sit down as a family and discuss the option of fostering to identify how it will affect everyone and whether it is the right choice for you as a family in the future. Not all fostering are long term, some are emergency or short term. Sitting down to discuss it can help you identify if you only want to take short term placements now and then or whether you’re ready to introduce a new child to the home on a possible permanent basis.
The next step is to ensure you have superior communication skills. You will be doing a lot of communicating once you introduce a new child into the home. You will be liaising with teachers, doctors and specialists. You will be liaising with the new child and the fostering agency. Knowing how to deal with people and having good communication skills can benefit you in the long run.
Be prepared. Fostering can be exceptionally taxing and daunting. You need to be prepared for the challenges you may have to face on a daily basis when you introduce a new child into your home environment. You will experience challenges in terms of the child, going through the process to be approved for fostering and so much more. If you are prepared, do your homework and speak to your fostering agency, then you will know what to expect, reducing the stress and making the process that little bit easier.
You need to also ensure the fostering agency you choose will provide you with the training and support to manage behavioural problems in the children introduced into your home. Remember these children have often gone through what many people will never experience in their lifetime. They may find it hard to trust you and will act out because they really don’t want to be in your home. Patience is essential in these situations, along with the support of the fostering team to help you manage these behaviours, make the child comfortable and make them part of your family during their stay.
The hardest thing some foster parents have to go through is letting go. Not all placements are permanent, so while you will become attached to a child in your care, you need to be prepared to let them go at some stage. This can be weeks, even years. In some instances the child may be adopted by someone else or they may be returned to their own family.
You will also need to be able to work as a team. You will work alongside your foster agency to ensure the best care for the child. Your dedication and passion should always be in the best interest of your child without putting additional strain on your family.
Remember to find a fostering agency who will work with you throughout the process. They should provide you with the training and support you need to provide the best care for each and every child introduced into your home whether on a long or short placement.