DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Foster Parenting - Is It For You?

Thank you to Kevin with personalizedstorytimebook.com for sharing this article with us! 
(Used with permission)

Foster Parenting – Is it For You? 

By Kevin Andersen

Are you thinking of becoming a foster parent to a child in need?  Have you wondered what it would be like?  If you are contemplating becoming a foster parent, there are many things you should think about.  Ask yourself the hard questions.  You may be surprised with your answers.

Foster parenting brings with it many joys and rewards, as well as presenting hard times and difficult challenges.  If you are married, both you and your spouse need to be on board.  You will be a team.  If you have children of your own still living at home, you need to see how they feel about foster children moving in.  The needs of the whole family need to be assessed, as this arrangement impacts everyone in your home.

One important question is the age group and number of children you are willing to take in.  It is preferable that siblings be placed together when possible.  It is a scary time for them.  Take a moment to reflect about how they will be feeling.  They are coming in to a new home and moving in with strangers.  They are confused, missing their own surroundings, family and friends.  They are stressed and wonder when they will be returning to their home.  They will experience a whole spectrum of emotions, including anxiety, anger and frustration.  Are you able to handle the pressures this brings with it?

On a practical side, do you have enough space in your home to accommodate these children?  Are there sufficient bedrooms and beds?  If you are taking in infants, do you have the necessary cribs and other supplies?

Are you prepared to be on call 24 hours a day?  Often children that are apprehended need to be placed in foster homes in the middle of the night.

The role of the foster parent is to provide a loving, safe environment to the child until his return home.  Reunification with their biological family is the main goal of the system.  When children are unable to return home, kinship care is often arranged.  Kinship care is when a relative of the child becomes the caregiver, giving the child a sense of normalcy.  When children are placed with their relatives, they can carry on with their traditions and cultural activities.

You need to realize that you are an intermediate caregiver to these children.  The phone could ring at any time with a caseworker calling to say that they are coming to pick up the children as soon as possible.  At times this will be heartbreaking.  Saying goodbye is difficult.  At times, it will be rewarding as you will know that the child is returning home to a much better environment than the one they originally left.

Foster parenting is not the regular nine to five job.  You won’t be punching a time clock.  You are not able to call in to work to say that you won’t be in for the day.  To be a foster parent means a commitment of 24 hours a day, seven days of the week.

Take the time to seriously consider the above issues.  If you are unsure of any of them, can anything be done to change the circumstances?  If you’ve answered favorably and are still considering becoming a foster parent, call your local Child Welfare office.  They will direct you as to whom you should contact.

There are many kids in need, waiting to be placed in a caring, safe home. Could that home be yours?

About Kevin Andersen

Kevin Andersen is the owner of www.PersonalizedStoryTimebook.com , a website that sells 30+ personalized children's books which are intended to engage young readers by making them the main character in the story.  Each book is customized with the child's name, hometown, age and the names of up to three friends.  Some of the titles include the Three Little Pigs, African American Heroes, and Dinosaur Land.

December, 2009