Foster parents and foster children all come from different backgrounds. They are all different, making it impossible to categorize them. Their stories and experiences are vastly different. Each person’s experience in foster care is unique. With that in mind, here are a few tried-and-tested techniques that have been shown to be helpful to healthy foster parents from various walks of life. You’re bound to discover a suggestion on this list, shared by veteran foster parents, that speaks to you.
It’s best to have a support system in place before you start fostering. Unfortunately, many people wait until they’re overwhelmed before seeking help. Connect with the community once you’ve been approved to foster. Church groups or individuals are often eager to assist foster families by providing meals, babysitting, or running errands. Discuss your future commitment with your friends and family, and ask if they’d be willing to assist you occasionally. Remember that emotional support is just as vital. Discuss your experience with your loved ones and share your emotions, both positive and negative.
If possible, attend the court dates. Even if you are not permitted to enter the courtroom, simply sitting outside and listening in can provide you with a wealth of information about your foster child’s case and give you a greater knowledge of their background and family situation. This will not only help you provide better, more specialized care, but it will also demonstrate that you are a dedicated foster parent. Attending these court hearings on a regular basis can provide you with an opportunity to form a relationship with your caseworker and even with your foster child’s family.
Record your memories. After all, foster care is just temporary. These kids may not be with you forever, but they were and will always be a part of your family. Take photos and videos of regular life and memorable occasions to remember the time you do have with them. Consider keeping a diary for each child, in which you can write funny stories or special incidents. Make picture books of your time together, complete with photos and memories. You’ll be glad you have these to look at later on.
Finally, be willing to change. Foster care is a wild journey, and your plans will almost certainly change. God has his own plans in mind! Listen to your natural instincts and do what feels right in the moment.
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Kids First is here to help you start a journey to healthy foster parenting. Contact us today.