15 Questions You Should Ask Before You Foster a Child
Fix Broken Issues in Your Relationships Before You Bring Home a Foster Child
Problems in your relationship will need to be worked out before you bring another human being into the equation. Remember that pre-existing family or marital issues tend to worsen as the pressure of adding a foster child is placed on the family.
Can You Love a Foster Child As Your Own?
Foster children bring with them a plethora of challenges that will make demands on your time, expense, and patience, and likely will demand a measure of change in your lifestyle. Loving and nurturing a child is necessary when fostering a child. Are you able to love a child that is not yours and to love that child as your own? Issues relating to the child’s background will be both behavioral and emotional and will be played out in the family environment. Yours! You will be the one to place limitations on unwanted behaviors and you will decide how much impact you allow these issues to make in your home and on your family.
Ask Some Crucial Questions Before You Make a Decision
Before you make a decision to foster a child, ask yourself some crucial questions to help determine whether foster parenting is a good choice for you. Yes, singles can and do foster children. If you are single and want to bring a child into your life, take special care to have plenty of emotional support. If you are married, take care of your marriage and make that a number one priority. Do you have a stable, long-term relationship with your mate? Foster children will require a stable environment in order to grow healthy emotionally and physically.
Explore Some Emotional Strengths and Weaknesses
- If you are married, do you work out your issues through good communication practices? If you are single, do you have healthy venues for resolving problem issues?
- Are you certain your relationship will hold up through negative situations that can be traumatic, frequent, and of a long duration?
- What parenting skills do you have? Do you have a parenting plan for specific ways to discipline, reward, and enforce your wishes?
- How do you think you would cope with losing a child through another placement or the child being returned to his home (and into a situation you may feel is potentially harmful)?
- What emotional health resources do you have set up for yourself and your family if you lose a beloved child... or if you have to move a child out of your home?
Do You Have the Time and Resources to Parent a Challenged Child?
- How good are you at forgiving yourself and others?
- Are you good at keeping personal and private information to yourself?
- How would you react to having social workers, therapists, and birth parents prying into your marriage, family, and personal background?
- If you have other children in your home, how do you think they will feel about the foster child?
- How much time do you have available to spend with a challenged foster child and still continue to give your children at home adequate time and attention?
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Are You a Team Player?
- Where will you get your emotional support?
- How will you cope with family that resents your decision to foster?
- What measures will you take with family members that show favoritism to your biological child/children?
- Who will be available for respite care for you and how much energy are you will to put forward to find it?
- Are you willing to work as a team with DSS, Social Security, and other government agencies?
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
These and many other questions should be asked tbefore you can make an informed decision about foster parenting. Empower yourself with knowledge so you will be a successful foster parent!
Several other resources you may want to consider before making a decision are, The National Foster Parent Association Blog and your local and state associations.
- Foster Parenting: What Case Workers May Not Tell You
As a prospective foster parent you should know that foster care case workers may not tell you everything they could. Here are some reasons why they don't and what they did not tell.