For some people, the thought of caring for a foster child seems natural but for others, fostering may be a decision that you’ve mulled on for a long time. Maybe there is something in the back of your mind that is simply holding you back and causing fear…fear of the unknown, perhaps.
Although it’s normal to have fears or logical concerns, the first step in considering to become a foster parent is to educate yourself through an agency like SAFY. Our website is a good place to start your information gathering journey to becoming a foster or foster to adopt parent.
Questions that are often asked are, “Do I need previous experience to be a foster parent?” The answer to that question is no. There are certain traits, though, that are helpful to have when foster parenting. A few of these include the ability to be sensitive, flexible and selfless—all traits that SAFY will assist in providing you through training.
With foster parenting you will find that every child is different and each situation is unique and should be approached on an individualized basis. In addition to being sensitive, flexible and selfless, here are five other helpful qualities that you should consider having before making the decision to become a foster parent.
- Perseverance. Raising a child doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all manual, and that especially holds true for a child placed in foster care. To be a good foster parent, a person should be strong and persevere through the tough and challenging times.
- Patience is a virtue. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? When a child comes into a foster parent’s home, he or she is entering a new world. It’s up to the foster parent to be patient as the child learns to adapt to a new set of rules.
- The ability to be understanding. Empathy and understanding of each child’s case will go along way in creating a healthy and happy environment. Understanding a child’s unique needs is paramount in being able to show a child that you care.
- The ability to communicate. Communication in any relationship is key, but for foster parents, the need to communicate clearly not only with the child but with caseworkers, and in some cases relatives, is imperative. It’s through communication that parents can help earn a child’s trust.
- The ability to provide support and love. Without love, the above qualities honestly don’t matter. With love, a foster parent will find these qualities come naturally. It’s with love that a foster parent can persevere through the difficult times and find the patience to help each child.
Agencies like SAFY offer a strong level of support and a commitment to you, our Agents of Hope, that include specialized training, support in your home, financial reimbursement of child-related costs and so much more. Take a short quiz or contact us to see if foster parenting is right for you.