Is Fostering a Child For You?

Shelley Wenger

Things to consider before you bring a foster child into your life.
Photo byShelley Wenger at Canva

Bringing a foster child into your life is a great way to help out. There are plenty of children who need a loving home, and, by offering up your home to one, you are positively influencing a child. These children are often abused and neglected, so they will need plenty of love and attention to help them. 

However, that alone is not a good enough reason to foster a child. You have to be ready to deal with everything that comes along with a child who possibly has had a rough life. 

So, why should you foster a child? Here are some reasons why and some things that you need to consider before you open up your home to a child in need. 

You are (or were) a good parent. If you feel like you are (or were) a good parent to your children, you may want to do the same for others. You need to be very open and understanding. You need to have a lot of love to give, though there are going to be times when you are going to need to be firm with these children. They need rules as much as they need love and attention! 

If you have children, you need to make sure that your children are fine with letting a foster child into their lives. This won’t just affect you. It will affect your children and everyone living in the house. So, before you sign up, talk to them to make sure that they are willing to help you and their foster sibling. They are going to have to share their home, parents, and possibly even their room, so it isn’t fair if you don’t get their opinion first. 

If you don’t have children, fostering a child may be the best way for you to experience parenthood. There are plenty of people who become parents through fostering and adoption. This can be a great way to support a child who needs some extra love and attention. 

Whether or not you have children, you need to have a good support system. Fostering children isn’t easy, so you need to be able to lean on your family and friends for support. If they aren’t on board with it, you may struggle. You are going to want them to love and support your foster child, just like they would with your regular child. You don’t want them treating him or her differently than they do with your biological children. 

The role of foster parents is to make sure that the child feels comfortable and is accepted into a new home. You need to be able to provide a warm and inviting environment for your foster child, so that he or she can relax and begin to heal. You are going to need to help improve his or her self-esteem and help the child find his or her way in the world. This may take several months, but it is worth it when your foster child begins to shine! 

That being said, you have to be prepared for an unhappy child. Though you are thinking that you are rescuing this child from an unhappy situation, the truth is that may be all that your child knows. Your child may be upset when he or she is taken away from parents, even if they were unfit to have a child. You are going to have to give him or her time to get used to the new situation! If you expect too much too soon, you are not going to have a good experience.

You have to be ready for a challenge. Since each child is different, you are going to have plenty of challenges ahead of you. Some children will need more help in school, while others may have some behavioral things that need to be addressed. Some children may need medical attention due to a condition, so you never know what you can expect when you decide to foster a child. 

If you are able, you may want to foster siblings. There are not enough homes for families with multiple children. Most of the time, siblings are split up in order to find places for them. This can be really heartbreaking for children, so if you can take two or three children, you may want to look into a family. 

You may also want to consider taking in an older child. It is much easier to place babies and young children. Teenagers are harder to place, especially if they are deemed challenging. Even if they are almost eighteen, they could really use a home where they can get plenty of love and attention. 

Can you say goodbye when the time comes? Foster care is not permanent. Your child is going to leave some day, whether that is a few days, months, or even years away. During this time, you and your family will get attached, and it is going to be hard to say goodbye. 

That being said, your foster children may be in your life for the rest of yours. They may keep in touch, even after they go back home with their parents (or get moved to another place). If you keep them until they are eighteen, they may go to college or move away, yet they will still continue to visit. 

It is a big decision to make, and you should not take it lightly. You need to make sure that your spouse, children, and family are all on board with fostering a child. You should never bring in a child when you know that your heart and family isn’t in it! 

That being said, you are going to have to be a parent. Your foster child is going to need plenty of love and attention, but will also need a parent to put them on the right path (or keep them there). You may find yourself dealing with medical conditions and behavior problems. You may also be unprepared for a child who isn’t happy to be there! However, if you are prepared, it could be the best thing for you and your family. 


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Shelley is a small town farm mom of two boys. She is a veterinary technician, so she is proud to write about all kinds of animals and their care. She also loves to write about writing, running a business, working from home, and much more.

Glenville, PA

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