While the process of becoming a foster parent may seem daunting, it is important to know that there are many people and resources available to help you through the process. It is important to do some research and gather as much information as possible to increase the possibility of success as a foster parent. What follows are some of the most common questions about foster parenting to help you decide if foster parenting is right for you. Your answers to these questions should help you determine whether foster parenting is the right choice for you.
Determining your emotional fitness is crucial since many times foster children arrive in your home in an emotionally unstable state. Here are some questions to help you determine your motivation for becoming a foster parent-
• How do I know if foster parenting is right for me and my family?
• Do you have the time and energy to care for a foster child?
• Can you love and care for a child who has come from a different background than yours?
• Can you help a child develop a sense of belonging in your home even though the stay is temporary?
• Can you love a child who, because of fear of rejection, does not easily love you back?
• Are you secure in yourself and your parenting skills?
• Can you set clear limits and be both firm and understanding in your discipline?
• Can you accept assistance and guidance from trained social workers?
• Can you maintain a positive attitude toward a child’s parents, even though many of the problems the child experiences are a direct result of the parent’s actions?
• Can you love a child with all your heart and then let them go, knowing that the investment you have made in their life is priceless?
There are many practical issues that must be addressed as well. Asking some of these questions will give you a clearer picture of what to expect from your foster care experience.
• What age group represents the greatest need for foster homes?
• How much will it cost to become a foster parent?
• How long will it take for a child to be placed in my home?
• How long do foster children usually stay in the foster home?
• What compensation do I receive as a foster parent?
After you complete the licensing process there will be many questions as well. Your agency and assigned case worker will help you answer the following questions so that they, and you, will know what the type of foster child that should be placed with you.
• How many children should be placed with you? Do you have room for only one child or can you take a group of siblings?
• Do you want just boys or girls or both?
• What ages of children will work best in your family? Foster children are available from infancy through 18 years of age.
• Are you willing and able to take a child to counseling sessions, doctor’s appointments, court hearings and other regular appointments?
After placement is made there are also many questions that should be asked. Some of these are:
• What types of involvement will you have with your foster child’s parents and other family members?
• Are there support groups available for you in your area that will help meet your foster parenting needs? Is respite care available if you need it?
• What are the specific needs of your foster child that may require outside help or resources?
• Can I adopt my foster child?