Is Fostering a Child right for you?
Fostering a child is an unbelievably rewarding experience for the whole family and of course, the child themselves. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, you’ve no doubt got a whole host of questions regarding whether it is potentially something that could really work for you, your family and your lifestyle.
We’ve looked at some of the main questions to hopefully help you along on your way to deciding.
Do you fully understand with the whole process will involve?
The fostering process is a complex one that will be completely different varying from person to person so it’s almost impossible to put it into a few bullet points. Before signing up to anything or agreeing to anything, it’s vital you speak to the agency first in depth to fully understand what it involves. There’s a good guide to finding an agency here.
How does the rest of your household feel about it?
Being open and honest with the rest of your household is vital and you should take into consideration any concerns any of them may have so that you all are happy with the final decision.
Do you have a support system to help you?
Likewise, you may at times need to rely on people outside of your household to help you both physically and emotionally to take care of this child (and yourself). Do you have people that will be supportive and positive about this experience every step of the way?
Can your home adapt to the needs of a potentially troubled or culturally different child?
The children in our care system will vary completely, from both genders to ages, different home life experiences and religions. Can you fully commit and adapt to a child that is from a troubled background, for example, or one with completely different cultural customs and traditions to you and your family?
Do you have a sufficient amount of time to dedicate to them?
Some agencies may not accept applicants (or may be dubious of accepting applicants) that work full, long hours as this may not be ideal for looking after a foster child. They will need (and deserve) a lot of time and effort and it’s vital you ensure you can provide them with that.
Are you in good physical and mental health?
As a rule, most good foster care agencies will hold no health ailments against your application as long as they do not affect your abilities to care for a child. However, you will of course need to be relatively strong both mentally and physically so that you can deal with the tough times that may be a normal part of the process. There’s a good run down of common concerns here regarding ‘can I foster?’
Are you prepared to have lots of involvement with a lot of new people?
Foster children never come as one person. They have a whole host of people looking after them and working with them, from their biological families to social workers. You will need to put your own opinions of these people to the background and will have to be prepared to work with them in putting the child’s needs and wants first.