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How Do You Become A Foster Family?

There are so many materials available for individuals expecting a baby. But the resources are less so for individuals who want to foster a child. Foster parents have to be ready to receive children from all ages, and ends of the spectrum, and are often thrown into the game with little time to prepare. So how do you find out what you need to know as an expectant foster parent?

Communication is key. You will likely be communicating with a wide variety of stakeholders during the fostering process. Whether that is a social worker or the biological family, you need to communicate clearly and directly with everyone. This includes your own family — children you already have, grandparents, extended family, etc. Encourage family members to be welcoming, but cognizant of the space the new child will need to process emotions and acclimate. 

Accept that this will be challenging. Fostering can be stressful and fearful, for both the child and the family. Questions are likely flowing through the child’s mind: Why did this happen? When can I see my family? When do I get to go home? Will this family be able to meet my needs? After the initial meeting, inquire whether the child is feeling sick, hungry, or tired. Give them a tour of your home, ending with their room. Giving a child their space is so important — it allows them time to process what is going on. This situation can be very confusing, so they will likely have lots of questions. Be honest when answering any questions they have. If you don’t have the answer right away. That’s okay! Let them know that you will find out the answers together.

Throughout this process, remind your family that this is new for everyone and acknowledge that each individual is allowed to adjust in their own way, on their own time. Encourage your family to be open to this experience. Fostering is the chance to make a positive impact on a child’s life, and it can have a powerful, positive impact on your family as well.

Interested in learning more? We love this valuable list of resources from AdoptUSKids.

Image via the Arizona Daily star.