Have you ever thought about becoming a foster parent? This is something that we looked into at one point, but I doubted that I could handle the heartache of saying goodbye to the children after their time in my home was over. Maybe one day, when my own kids are older, we’ll think about it again.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to take the next step if you’re considering foster care for your family. By becoming a foster parent, you will make a difference in the life of each child who walks through your door, whether they stay for just a night or two, a month, a year or even longer. In some cases, children in the foster care system become eligible for adoption, so foster care may be the first step toward adding a child to your family permanently!
Usually the process begins with an informational meeting with your local agency. This might be an open-house-type meeting, or it may be a small group meeting, depending on your location, the type of agency and how many families are interested. Next, you’ll have to submit to background checks and a home study, and you also must complete a training program, which will teach you about your role as a foster parent.
Once your training and background/home checks are complete, you’ll be certified as a foster parent, and you’ll wait for a child to be placed with you. The children who come into your home may have been abused or neglected, and might have moderate to severe behavioral or emotional needs. Your foster care agency will help you through these difficult times.
The rewards of becoming a foster family include the opportunity to foster a special relationship with a child, the experience of meeting new people, and the assurance that you have helped a family get back on track. While the child is staying with you, his or her birth family will be going through counseling and other programs with the goal of reunification. In some cases, of course, this is impossible. No matter what the outcome, the child will be depending on you to be a steady and trustworthy adult figure during this time.
If you have thought about becoming a foster parent, contact your local state or private agency to find out more about what you need to do. Most areas need foster families, so you’ll be filling a need and making a difference.
Are you a foster family? Tell us about your experiences!