With over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, the need for loving foster homes continues to rise. Seven thousand of those children reside in Kansas alone. While becoming a foster parent may not be for everyone, some otherwise great potential foster parents may harbor fears that keep them from receiving a child into their homes. If you’ve said any of the following statements to yourself, we at Pathway Family Services want to help address some of your fears to help you make an informed decision about becoming a foster parent.
I’m Worried I Won’t Be Able to Handle the Child’s Behaviors
This is a common foster parent fear. Because many of these children have experienced abuse and neglect, some of the behaviors they exhibit can be challenging at times. It should be reassuring, however, that we offer a comprehensive training program for all potential foster parents, providing you with the tools you need to be successful. You’ll learn how to manage challenging behaviors, navigate feelings, and work with the system. Throughout your time as a foster parent, you’re not in it alone. Our agency offers you ongoing support. We’re always available to answer any questions you may have.
I Don’t Have Any Experience Parenting Children of My Own
Many people fear that they won’t be able to be foster parents because they have never had children of their own. This is not an issue. In fact, being childless has a few advantages. Some children are not able to be placed in homes with other kids, so your home is open to children who might not have other options. Additionally, you are able to fully focus on your foster child without needing to split your attention between your foster children and biological children.
Take time to read parenting books, particularly ones about raising foster children. Reach out to others for help when you need it, and consider joining a support group if one is available in your area. You’ll make some mistakes — the same as everyone else — but being childless does not put you at a disadvantage.
What If the Child Isn’t a Good Fit For My Family?
It is entirely possible that a particular child may not be a good fit for your family, but this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing foster care. There are a few safeguards in place to keep this from happening. You will be able to articulate your preferences when it comes to which children are placed in your home. Before a child is placed with you, we share all applicable information about the child with you. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision. It is all right to say no if you think the child won’t be a good fit. This is a part of the process of finding appropriate placements for the children in our agency.
Find More Tips Addressing Common Foster Parent Fears
If you feel daunted about the idea of being a foster parent, it’s okay to express that. It can be a tough job at times. However, we don’t want great potential foster parents to give up on the idea of fostering because of these fears. You will have support throughout your time as a foster parent with our agency. Are you interested in finding out more about fostering? Contact us today to learn more.