The steps to becoming a foster parent differ for everyone. Maybe your sister starting fostering children, and it inspired you to start. Or maybe you’re the first one out of everyone you know considering taking the leap. Whatever your path, it’s important to be honest with your self, your situation, and what you’re capable of committing to before you begin. Having conversations with your partner, or any other support system is vital during this time. Use this post as a guide when you’re beginning to consider fostering- covering some of the main questions to ask yourself before becoming a foster parent.
Understand your motivation. What makes you want to be a foster parent? Recognizing that rather than being excited to care for a child, you should be excited for that child to have a loving and supporting family. Ensure that your mission is to give back to those children that need help. Keep in mind that the goal of foster care is to provide a safe place for children to stay while their family is being repaired, in hopes to reunite.
Next, make sure you’re on the same page with your partner. Marriage is wonderful, and often couples have a lot in common- it may be why they fell in love. However, if your partner seems hesitant about being a foster parent, be sure and respect them. While it can feel disheartening, be sure not to push your partner into something they’re not ready for. Being parents is a two-person job, and when caring for a foster child, the support is critical. Keep talking with your partner, and explaining to them why this is something that’s important to you, and that you’d like for them to consider. When or if you begin to feel like you’re on the same page, then you can start moving forward.
Lastly, but still very important, be realistic about your situation. Be confident in having the means to provide for this child financially, be their support system, feed them, spend time with them, nurture them, and pray for them. Foster care brings a lot of “costs” that many people don’t fully think through. Kids require a lot of energy, time and money. This is not to discourage you from putting in the work- because it will be more than worth it. If we have the means to give, we should.
One last piece of advice… try not to overcomplicate things. These questions don’t mean to suggest that your situation must be absolutely perfect in order for you to foster. Don’t get too caught up in small issues to ever begin the journey. Odds are, there will be several things you’re unsure about it. If you feel deep in your heart that foster care is for you, then stop waiting and take that step. It might be scary, and there may be things you need to adjust to- but they will work themselves out.