There is a lot to consider as you make the decision about whether to become a foster parent. People consider becoming foster parents for many different reasons, for example:
- You may be a relative who has been asked to step in for a child in your family.
- Perhaps you feel called to help children and families overcome adversity to heal and recover.
- You may have no connection to the foster care system, but would like to help a child, and are seeking to adopt.
Whatever your motivation, becoming a foster parent is a big decision. It’s important to consider what fostering would mean for you and your family.
Is foster parenting right for you and your family?
Is foster parenting the right choice for you and your family? Here are some questions to work through as you consider whether to become foster parent:
- Does my family have time and patience to help another child and family?
- Do I have a strong support system?
- Am I a person who likes to find creative solutions to challenges I face in life?
- Do I have the skills needed to successfully manage the behaviors of children who have experienced trauma and may be acting out?
- Am I willing to learn new skills to help children heal from their losses?
- Am I willing to ask for help and additional resources when I encounter roadblocks in life?
- Am I willing to help a parent (or parents) in their journey to rebuild their lives so that their children can return home to them, when safe to do so?
- Can I love a child enough to say goodbye, when that’s what is best for them?
Additional resources to help you with this decision
- Factsheet for families considering becoming a foster family
- 9 Qualities of Successful Foster and Adoptive Parents
- Consider how foster parenting can affect you, your family, the children and their families, Video
Real Talk: What is fostering REALLY like?
Being a parent is not easy, and being a foster parent brings an additional level of complexity into the job of caring for a child. And, we’re not going to sugar coat it: the foster care system can be frustrating and confusing for everyone involved.
Experienced foster parents say, having patience and a sense of humor is important. It’s also important to seek out quality foster parent training to prepare you for the role. You can also ask for ongoing support from the child welfare agency to help you overcome challenges that may arise.
The reality of being a foster parent is reality of being a parent, period. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever have. But it’s never anything you can’t handle, because the resources are there.
O’Donna-Hue, foster parent from New York
Ready to answer the call?
As you think about these perspectives and the questions raised above, you may decide to hit pause before taking the next step. That’s OK. This is an important decision and one that may take some time to make.
If you’re ready to jump in, start thinking about next steps!