5 Signs You’re Ready To Become A Foster Carer
To become a foster carer, you’re not just revealing your heart and opening up your mind to help improve the quality of a child’s life, but you’re also opening up your home, as well as the lives of your closest friends and family too.
We understand that the decision to become a foster parent isn’t just a frivolous, split-second one that you think about briefly on the way to work one morning because you have a spare bedroom. Instead, the initial decision to even apply and register an interest should be seen as a journey in itself. Infact, It’s probably taken you weeks, months and even years just to get to that stage.
Although you’ll have to embark upon much other, smaller journeys on your way to becoming a foster carer, we see the decision to join the other 44,000 foster families currently in England as one of the biggest a person will ever undertake.
We will always provide rigorous training and support for our foster carers using our professionally trained team and extensive network of existing foster families before, during and after the application has been approved. However, it’s equally as important to understand some of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that brought you and many others like you to make this life-changing decision.
1. You’ve thought about it and done your research
For the most part, every potential foster carer that we’ve encountered has conducted plenty of research and given themselves enough time to think about everything there is to think about fostering. Knowing that each individual is different, there’s little surprise that we also stumble upon families who have tirelessly researched the topic of fostering, but are still in doubt whether to apply or not.
We strongly recommend that you become part of Perpetual Fostering’s increasingly popular fostering community and forum to help alleviate your doubt and to have any questions answered. Better still, you’re likely to meet current foster families who were once in a similar position to you.
Aside from emotional motivation, it’s important that all potential foster parents recognise the many practical and everyday issues that may arise as well. Therefore, thinking about how much time you’re willing to commit, what you would like to achieve by becoming a foster carer and whether or not an older or a younger foster child will be most suitable to your home environment and lifestyle is strongly advised.
2. You’ve gained plenty of experience
Obviously, it’s difficult to gain experience as a foster parent if you’re not yet a foster parent, but we’re talking about getting experience in other areas. Whether paid or voluntary, you could certainly gain vital experience babysitting, working as a childminder or helping out at your local school.
Although there is no real recommendation as to how many hours you need to acquire, it’s hoped that you’ll be able gain a better understanding of how children behave on a daily basis.
3. You’re doing it for the right reasons
Believe it or not, becoming a foster carer can be a financially rewarding prospect, and for many people this can be quite high on their list of reasons as to why they want to foster.
Rather than looking to provide companionship for yourself or your existing children, having an active desire to help improve a child’s life within a safe and stable environment, as well as providing them with an opportunity to develop and flourish as individuals should be amongst your main reasons.
4. You have a supportive network around you
Although we’re not talking about getting the window cleaner, postman and local butcher involved, ensuring that your closest friends and family are fully onboard with your decision is crucial.
To become a foster carer there’s no doubt that you’ll have to open up your heart, home and mind to social workers and children that you’ve never met before, so why not do the same with your nearest and dearest beforehand? Wash away any fears or doubts that you might have at this stage.
5. You’re able to let go and say goodbye
Without a doubt many people do get confused with the difference between fostering and adoption, and whilst we do offer long term foster care placements, the majority of fostering placements do involve the child leaving at some point.
Whether this is to go back to their natural birth parents or to another foster family, we understand that this often grief like feeling can be difficult to overcome.
Time is a great healer when it comes to waving goodbye a foster child, and although this does seem to get slightly easier as you gain further fostering experience, you should aim to remember the positive change that you helped bring about whilst the child was in your care.
Whilst there are many offer signs that existing that help individuals deter whether they’re ready to become a foster career, we feel that we have highlighted some of the most important. Whether you feel you’re at this stage or you require further information and advice about becoming a foster carer with Perpetual Fostering, make sure that you get in touch with our warm-welcoming, passionate and experienced team.