As a foster parent, you carry a burden on your heart that wants to help all children who need a family and a place to stay. That’s why you joined the system. However, it’s not realistic, nor smart to say yes to every placement call you receive. Sometimes, saying no is important – even though it’s hard. Learning to be comfortable in turning down placements is important if you want to stay in it for the long run, and provide the best care for each child that comes through your home. Besides that, you want to maintain a good life for your own family.
When you step into foster care, take some time to figure out what you can say yes to. Keep your mind open and be willing to step out of your comfort zone, but establish your boundaries. Pray about it. How many children can you take at a time? Can you take siblings? Are you okay with tackling trauma from different types of abuse? These are heartbreaking questions, but remember to be honest with yourself about them.
You need to be prepared to properly care and nurture the foster children who stay with you because if you can’t, there are others who can. You may want to say yes to every placement and fill the needs of these children, but it is essential to recognize that just because you’re willing to fill a need doesn’t necessarily mean you are able.
Keep your biological forever family as your first priority. It’s perfectly natural for children to take a while to adjust to having a foster kid in the home, and it can even open their minds and hearts to things they would not experience otherwise. But when you think about fostering, keep your family dynamic in mind. The personalities and ages of your own kids may dictate the type of foster children you should accept. For example, if you have small children, introducing an older child might not be ideal.
And overall, respect your marriage. In every decision you make, make sure you and your partner are on the same page and are comfortable with the steps you are taking. After all, you’re in this together, and your relationship can rub off on your children, biological and foster. Keeping it healthy is crucial.
Think it over, pray, and discuss with your family to decide what you can handle at the moment, so you can be prepared for future placement calls. By having set boundaries and guidelines, you can save yourself a lot of stress and grief when it comes to denying or accepting placements. When your life begins to shift and change, reassess.