The decision to become a foster parent is a difficult one. You will be taking a child into your care who is going through a very difficult time in their life, you will need to prepare your home, mentally prepare your family and your own biological children, you’ll need to rearrange your schedule when necessary, and more. But on the other hand, you will also be providing a child in need with a stable and structured environment and with a loving, nurturing home. The benefits far outweigh the negatives or potential complications.
That being said, there are many things that individuals and families should consider and questions they should ask themselves before they make the decision to become a foster care parent.
At FCCY, we do everything we can to help prepare you for the responsibility of being a foster parent, including pre-service training. We will guide you and give you advice on various aspects of being a foster parent, and we will be there to help you throughout the process.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if foster parenting is right for you.
Do I Have the Support I Need?
Being a foster parent is ideally not something that is done alone. Talk to your close friends, family, and neighbors to see if they would be willing to offer support, babysitting, or an extra meal when you need it. Talk to teachers in the school district and see if they have any experience with teaching foster kids or if they can be a resource for you when needed. Find a therapist if you don’t already have one so you have someone to talk to when things get difficult. Without this network of support, being a foster parent can be much more difficult.
Is My Schedule Flexible?
It may be surprising for new foster care parents the amount of time that is required on weekends and during the work week. It’s not just when a child gets sick and they need to be picked up from daycare, or when daycare closes. You’ll need to be able to make time for court hearings, medical and therapy appointments, meetings with the social worker and/or lawyer, family visits, driving the child to each appointment, and there may be times when a new foster child needs to be picked up suddenly. Being a foster parent can be time-consuming and you will need to make the time for them.
Is My Family Ready?
If you have biological children, even when they are prepared and understand the situation, it can be a shock when a child actually arrives at your home. Family dynamics that everyone has grown accustomed to will change, your own children will need to adjust to having kids come and go, which can be incredibly difficult for some. Are you ready to love and care for everyone under your roof equally?
What is my Motivation?
Families and individuals have different reasons and motivations for wanting to become a foster parent, and that’s great. But what is at the root of your motivations? If you are curious about what you or your family may get out of the experience, it most likely isn’t for you. However, if you are longing to help children who are in need, if you are focused on what you can give, then you’re headed in the right direction.
Am I Ready For The Unexpected?
As a foster care parent, there will be unexpected events, unexpected phone calls, meetings, trips to the doctor, or whatever it may be. Being a foster parent means not only having a flexible schedule, but also being able to adjust expectations quickly and to be ready for surprises at all times. This is another reason why it’s so important to have a support system set up before you become a foster parent.
Do you want to become a foster parent in Pennsylvania? Get in touch with the team at FCCY today to learn more.