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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 24, 2019:
This is a wonderful article. Thanks for sharing. Stay safe always.
LaurieNunley517 (author) from Deep South on January 28, 2016:
@smcopywrite You are right. So many people go into foster parenting with their heart and that's a good start. However, neglecting to explore your own family structure first can bring a lot of grief. I appreciate your comments!
smcopywrite from all over the web on January 27, 2016:
I believe all of these questions are admirable and worth consideration. Most of these are not even on the minds of those folks willing to move forward with the heart, but not the head.
Putting these things forward will save a lot misguided attempts to believe fostering is easy or a good fit for an individual. Thanks for sharing such useful and helpful material.
Sharilee Swaity from Canada on June 14, 2014:
Wow, what an excellent article! My husband and I have considered fostering. This is an excellent resource for making that decision. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I will be sharing this.
Kay on September 29, 2013:
I always wanted to be a foster parent but I knew I couldn't cope with losing a child in another placement. A family member had foster a baby girl and when they found a family for her we all missed her so much. I knew I couldn't do it.
RTalloni on September 21, 2013:
Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this post on fostering children. Looks like your experience and what you've learned from it is important to share with others--thanks!
If you have no objection I would like to link this to my story about foster care--thanks again.
Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on September 21, 2013:
Another congratulations on Hub of the Day. I'm going to introduce some highly unpopular facts here, if I may:
1) Let's face it - a lot of people enter foster care because they have few viable options in the job market. Check out Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)!
2) Where do these foster kids come from? A lot of times, it's the immorality of their biological parents (again, check out Mommie Dearest).
3) The market for foster parenting is growing by leaps and bounds, due to the M word (morality) being politically incorrect and babies being born to unfit parents. It used to be adoptive parents had to be married and own a home - this is no longer the case.
4) It is common for foster children who age out of the system to become homeless (about 47%).
5) It is also common for foster children to be shifted into several homes during their term as foster children.
6) The market for adopting kids varies according to desirability. There is a shortage of blue-eyed blond baby boys. It's all downhill from there. Desirability declines if the child is older than 3 years, female, is a minority, has a handicap, and if there are siblings.
THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR THE "M" WORD!!!
anglnwu on September 21, 2013:
I've considered being a foster parent but my husband is not up for it. I wonder if one should go into it without the so-called blessing of the significant other? Congrats on HOTD.
Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on September 21, 2013:
I find this to be a very informative hub for those considering getting into foster parenting. It's a decision that shouldn't be entered lightly as there are bound to be times of emotional roller-coaster of the kids and the adults involved.
Voted up, useful and interesting. Congrats on the HOTD award.
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 21, 2013:
Awesome hub! congrats on HOTD. These are all great points AND it would be good if ALL parents-to-be out there asked themselves these questions. :)
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 21, 2013:
Congrats on HOTD
I know a lovely woman who has fostered many children and loved them as her own and had to give them up. Then she found two that she fostered and adopted both of them. Now she has a newbie...an infant.
And another friend fostered a child for almost two years, she will be three next month. Her adoption was just finalized!!
You are right...fostering is not for everyone and there are huge considerations.
I worked with a third woman who without going into it should not have been fostering.
Thanks for sharing
Angels are on the way ps
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 21, 2013:
What a wonderful article for such a sensitive issue! I am sure foster parents, or those considering it would find this as extremely helpful advice. Well deserved HOTD. Congratulations!
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 21, 2013:
Congratulations on Hub of the Day. This is an important topic, and you present thought-provoking questions that will help people. I previously thought about fostering an older child and even called to inquire about it. Voted up and more.
CraftytotheCore on September 21, 2013:
I've always thought about becoming a foster mom. I have a son with Autism and have gone through tremendous training to help handle different situations.
I've heard that in order to foster children, one must have a room available for each child. That would be the only set back for me. I have 2 children and 3 bedrooms. I had a friend who fostered 3 or 4 children at a time and didn't have to have additional rooms, so I'm not sure if that's actually true or just false information.
I receive a notification from the state about every month asking me to sign up for their foster parent training because they are so desperate for people.
Congratulations on Hub of the Day!
Shasta Matova from USA on September 21, 2013:
Congratulations on your Hub of the Day. As you have pointed out, being a foster parent is very challenging, and you need to be ready emotionally, physically, and in every other way. I found that it took a great deal of time - taking the kids to see their parent, taking them to counseling, dealing with visits with the case workers. It also was like a magnifying glass on my life, as the case workers felt like they were simply looking to see what I was doing wrong, instead of working as a team on behalf of the child.
Anna Stevens from USA on September 21, 2013:
I think that the foster parenting is a good idea but it is better according to me if we train our kids at our own home instead of sending them to the foster house.
DoonKids from Gurgaon on September 21, 2013:
Nice key points.
LaurieNunley517 (author) from Deep South on August 08, 2013:
Thank you so much for your comment, Eiddwen! I thank you also for taking the time to read my Hun. Yes, foster parents should really take the time to explore what is involved before they jump in. It would save a lot of pain for the children and the foster parents.
Eiddwen from Wales on August 08, 2013:
So many pointers to take into account before fostering. A wonderful hub which will benefit many I m sure and here's to so many more to follow. Lots of love from Wales.