Are you single and have a desire to become a foster parent, but have a slew of questions and don’t know where to begin? You aren’t alone. There are many questions to ask yourself when considering becoming a single foster parent. One of the most common questions that is asked is “Can I even become a foster parent because I am single?”
The answer is YES. Most states will license a single foster parent. You will complete the same process as a couple who wants to foster or adopt a child. Almost anyone who has a desire and the capacity to help care for a child can become a foster parent through SAFY.
Questions to ask yourself
If you’re considering becoming a foster parent, more than likely you have thought about this for quite some time. The thought or feeling isn’t a spur of the moment decision. Have you asked yourself:
- Do I have a passion to foster parent?
- Do I have the lifestyle to support being a single foster parent?
- Do I have a support system around me?
- Do I have flexibility within my working environment?
If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, more than likely you’re ready to make the next step. At SAFY, we love hearing stories about foster parents’ journeys. They’ve been exactly where you have been—from the initial questions, the slight fear that enters your mind to the overwhelming thoughts of “I really want to do this, but can I?” Yes, yes you can.
Recently, Kelly Hackworth, SAFY’s Director of PR and Communications spoke with a local foster-to-adopt dad. His story will resonate with current foster to adopt parents as well as prospective foster parents.
Nick—from single foster dad to adopted son
“When I was 6, I remember hearing that there were kids without families. The thought of growing up without my parents was terrifying. At that point I attempted to convince my parents to adopt children, preferably all of the ones out there that needed homes. They eventually attended an informational meeting, but decided the timing wasn’t right. I then knew that I would adopt when I grew up. Interestingly, my mother ended up becoming a foster care social worker. Because of this, I spent much of my youth around foster families. I saw the difficulties and the truths first hand. When I turned 30 I panicked a little. I realized that I would need to begin adopting soon if I was going to adopt multiple children. That said, as a single person, I was worried about adopting alone. Also, as a single man, I was worried about prejudices. In the long run I experienced a lot of prejudice in surprising places, but I was more surprised by the joy and support my church, family and friends provided.
“For multiple reasons I gave myself a deadline, let it pass, then gave myself another deadline. After stalling for a while, I heard three speakers share their adoption stories and I knew it was time. My parents confirmed that they thought it was time as well. I still dragged my feet, but was soon became certified by an agency as a concurrent planning family—a family comfortable with adoption or long-term foster care. One week later, I received a call about a 7-year-old boy.
“The first year with him was really tough. Social workers and behavioral experts practically lived in our home, but he has grown so much in the 4 years that he has been with me, to the point where many would be surprised to learn that he was adopted. In February of 2017 he became my son through adoption, but he had chosen to call me dad two years before our adoption day.
Nick’s challenges, rewards and advice to someone considering fostering or fostering to adopt
“Sure there are challenges being a single person. Everything changes when you bring a child into your life. My son was traumatized when he came to my home and parenting a traumatized child is different than parenting a child who hasn’t been traumatized. It takes a lot of time because the way we learn is by going through the experience. Going through this made learning to be a parent real for me.
“My greatest reward is seeing how this child, who I love dearly and is my whole world, just seeing how far he has come. He fought so hard to grow and find out who he is in spite of having a very dark start in life. Hearing ‘I love you Dad’ is always a reward, too. My advice to anyone considering fostering or fostering to adopt: You’re never really ready to care for a child or to bring a child into your life because that child changes everything.
“If you’re considering it, don’t wait too long, but you also have to be prepared. Make sure you’re not carrying emotional baggage that will affect how you will parent and make sure you’re financially able to care for a child. If you are, then jump in! You’ll fall in love with the child, put the child first and always go to bat for them.
“A lot of what guided me through this was my faith. When I was at the end of my rope, my faith and the support of my family and my faith community got me through. You can’t walk this road alone, but you can do it as a single person. You have to have a support group behind you.”
SAFY would like to thank Nick for sharing his story. As you can see, there are challenges and rewards, but if you have the true passion and desire to make a difference in the life of a child, you can and will be that difference. Are you ready to take the next step? Contact SAFY and get all of your questions answered. We are here to guide, lead and support you in this process.