How to Determine if the Foster Care System is Right for You
Adopting a child is a lot easier than fostering one. Putting your life on the line to help a child and their family is emotionally and physically exhausting. Perhaps even more vital, though, are training, competence, availability, and a healthy dose of tenacity. I don’t see why you’d want to take on such a responsibility. I still don’t see why we agreed to this insanity. Before we felt the Lord nudging us towards opening our home, we were living a full and joyful life. No sensible person would want to disrupt that. But I just can’t see myself not taking this trip! Our experience as foster parents has brought so much joy and happiness into our lives, and we are so grateful to the children, child-welfare professionals, families, and especially our son.
So, the main query is, will you be a good foster parent? Obviously, not everyone has the vocation to do this kind of employment.
I’d like to make the case that everyone, but especially Christians, has a responsibility to help individuals who are in or at risk of entering the Child Protective Services or the Foster Care system.
The foster care system houses society’s most vulnerable members. These families and their children are the most marginalized in our communities, and they are also the most affected by trauma and other difficulties. When a kid enters the foster care system as a result of abuse or neglect, it is the failure of the entire family unit, not just the parents, that is being punished. There is a severe lack of resources, manpower, and backup for the systems that manage these intricate systems.
The only way to improve conditions for vulnerable children and their families in our community is for everyone to decide that doing so is important.
It involves making an effort to celebrate the birthdays and other special days of youth who are invisible in the system, being a willing babysitter for a foster parent who needs a break, offering to supply meals or other support to foster parents, showing social workers appreciation, intervening in the lives of vulnerable parents before CPS has to get involved, educating the community on trauma and how it affects the behavior of children, and much more.
God has commissioned each of us to look after the world’s most vulnerable citizens, and as a result, we are all here. What about a calling to foster care? When in your life cycle do you feel ready to expose your home to others? This is a tricky question to reply to.
Avoid letting fear prevent you from taking action.
To begin, it’s simple to think of excuses for not taking the initiative to become a foster parent. Almost everyone I know has said at some point, “I could never foster; I’d get too attached.” Training requires a significant investment of time and privacy. The safety of your children should always be a top priority. There are, in general, a lot of valid arguments against performing this task. I want to encourage you to go beyond that list and ask God to show you whether or not this is the right time to stretch yourself spiritually by doing things that may make you feel uneasy in order to help someone else.
Attend a Foster Care Informational Meeting
To become a foster parent, one must first learn about the process and complete training. You can use this data to see if you meet the requirements to become a foster parent in your area. Who can become a foster parent is largely unrestricted. You don’t have to be married to be a foster parent; your household income doesn’t have to be very high; your foster child can share a bedroom with another child in your care as long as they have their own bed; and you do have to go through training. My recommendation is that you attend an interest gathering if you are drawn to this field. Get the lowdown on how it works in your region, and then pray for God to lead the way.
That was the initial action that my husband and I took. The foster-to-adopt meeting we attended solidified our conviction that God was calling us to do something we’d previously assumed He’d have us do much later in life. Because of God’s provision, we were able to open our house to those in need; despite our apprehension, we continued to say yes throughout the training process.
Get Your Foster Care Certification
Our instructor told us that after the training, one of three things would happen: either we would decide to become foster parents, that it was a great idea but not the perfect moment for us to accomplish this, or that we should move on to other things. You can go through with the training even if you have serious doubts about your ability to handle the job. The purpose of the training is to help you understand your responsibilities better. It’s alright to decide along the way that supporting foster youngsters isn’t the perfect fit for you at this time or that you’ll do so in a different method. You can never answer positively if you never take the time to acquire the necessary skills.
Expand your knowledge base
While your own parenting skills may come in handy as a foster parent, you’ll still need guidance and support from professionals. Children in foster care frequently suffer from trauma, neglect, and substance abuse. Brains are changed by these events, and if you want to enter these kids’ lives gracefully, you need to know what that can look like and have some effective tactics for dealing behaviors related to these challenges. Learn more about foster care via books and talks by those who have gone through it. Listen to the experiences of adopted adults and children who were raised in foster care.
The Honest Adoption Podcast is my favorite! These two provide an incredible amount of openness, expertise, insight, and support to foster and adoptive parents through their ministry. If caring for foster children is something you’re considering, you should listen to some of their podcasts.
Foster the Family’s Jamie Finn is a powerful proponent of God’s truth. Her book is great, she has a great following on Instagram, and she provides services that are invaluable to families all around the world. Tori Hope Peterson is a Christian advocate with experience working with children in foster care. She provides helpful background information on the problem of a lack of foster homes. These are only a small sample of the many Christians in this community who have valuable advice to share on what good foster care looks like in practice.
Intensify your prayers and your network of supporters.
You need a village to successfully foster a child. Find friends who will help you during this difficult time. When a placement finally comes, and you realize you need diapers and formula delivered to your home within hours, you’ll be glad you prepared ahead of time. Find reliable people to watch your kids so you can take a break when life gets overwhelming.
You also need a group of people who will commit to praying for you while you go. These kids and their families are dealing with the true presence of evil. The bonds of sin and darkness that threaten to consume the futures of these children must be broken through prayer. Taking on the role of full-time carer for these children and loving them so deeply so quickly can be emotionally taxing. It must be nerve-wracking for you and the kids you foster to have to deal with changing weather every year. As you take on this challenging task, you’ll need the support of others around you. However, you shouldn’t be worried. God is always there to provide for you and your family. He is so devoted to you and the kids’ well-being that he would do everything for them.
Is Foster Care Right for Me? I’m not sure of the answer to that issue, but if you truly care about these children, God will show you the way. Unfortunately, the need for foster parents remains high, and if you can help alleviate the plight of children and families in need, you will be greatly appreciated. Teenagers in our area frequently use the DSS building as a place to sleep due to a lack of available foster care placements. As the effects of COVID persist, more and more children are placed in foster care. It’s best to begin at the beginning and see where it takes you. God is reliable in leading us, and the narrative he crafts for us is always superior to the ones we come up with on our own.