Foster parenting is a wonderful path to take, but it poses new and unique challenges. While every type of parenting has its challenges, foster parents experience some next level obstacles. In the face of that daunting prospect, how do people even begin to foster? We understand that fostering is an important step to adoption for both parents and kids. This week, we are doing our best to help out new foster parents to continue their good work. Read on to learn top tips for new foster parents.
Surround Yourself With Foster Friends
While the people in your life may be supporting you completely, they still don’t understand exactly what it’s like. Reach out and find some other foster parents to connect with for sympathy and support. There are online forums and many Facebook groups dedicated to foster parenting and foster family support groups.
Try And Roll With The Instability As Much As Possible
Everyone knows that the foster system pretty much everywhere is overburdened and oversupplied. Do not expect placements to go completely smoothly. Placements oftentimes fall through, sometimes multiple placements. Kids show up without the necessary paperwork, or with enough paperwork to drown in. Sometimes, children are relocated or returned to their biological parents with little to no warning.
It makes life feel topsy turvy and confusing, even at the best of times. Be aware of this fact before you begin, and try and roll with the punches when they come.
You’re Allowed To Feel Sad
Fostering a child is very much a bittersweet experience. For every moment of joy and every breakthrough, there are times when the child lashes out or they have to leave. Let yourself feel that sadness, it is totally natural. Don’t wallow in it, but accept it.
Make Time For Yourself And Your Mental Health
The children in the foster care system have been through a lot. This means that you, as their foster parent, will go through a lot. From mandatory court dates to supervised visits with bio parents to therapy sessions, you will hear and see terrible things.
Things that would make you feel bad for any child who lived through them. Let alone a child that you are parenting and bonding with. It is totally normal to have some mental health struggles when you are exposed to trauma such as that. It is smart to start seeing a therapist yourself
Have A Friend Or Partner On Call For Emergency Supply Runs
When a child walks into the door of your home, they won’t have much. Chances are that they do not have much more than the clothes on their back and maybe an extra outfit. Items like pacifiers, school supplies, and diapers are always in short supply.
Have some backup who are able to run to Target, Walmart, or some other big box store to grab stuff that you need right then. You will be very grateful for the help.