Can I become a foster parent?
Probably! There are so many misconceptions about the requirements of who can become a foster parent. You can be straight or identify as LGBTQ+, single or married, a SAHP or working full time. You can have five kids, or be childless, or an empty nester. You can be in your twenties and living with housemates, or in your sixties and living in an apartment. We need foster parents. We need you. Check out the “Getting Started” tab to see how to become licensed in your state.
Isn’t it expensive to foster or foster-adopt?
Nope! In fact it’s the most affordable way to have children. Every month you will receive a monthly stipend to help with the costs of raising a child. Your child will also have medical and dental insurance. Some states pay for childcare/summer camps as well. There are also incredible scholarships to help with college. Even after adoption, we get monthly financial support and our boys get health insurance until they’re 18. We didn’t pay a penny for our adoption.
Don’t you get attached? I don’t think I could let the child go.
I absolutely get attached. If you’re not getting attached you’re doing foster care wrong. The thing I’ve found most helpful in this situation is to form a healthy relationship with that child’s birth parents. Find the compassion within you to look beyond their mistakes, and try to understand their story. Chances are that the anger you may feel towards them will slowly turn into empathy, and then love. If that child does go home, hopefully at that point you’ve built a solid relationship with them and they become almost like an extended family. Several of our previous (and current!) foster children’s parents we see and talk to on a regular basis. Being able to witness a family come back together, and be stronger than ever before, is the best part of fostering.
Is it a good idea to become a foster family if we have bio kids? I don’t know how that will work.
*Disclaimer- I don’t have bio kids so take this answer with a grain of salt ;)
I think the lessons your bio kids will learn while fostering are invaluable. The foster parents I’ve talked to who have bio kids have said that their children are learning so much about caring for their community, the importance of diversity, and the injustices in our country. Their children have foster siblings who speak different languages, practice different religions, and are different ethnicities. Their children are growing up to be extremely compassionate and empathetic to those around them. They are open minded and accepting of others. It’s one of their core beliefs that they should always welcome others into their home who need help.
Aren’t foster teens scary/dangerous/bad influences?
Not always. I think it’s key to remember that youth in foster care aren’t in the system because of anything they did. They are in foster care because their parents couldn’t keep them safe. Our experience with teens has been amazing. It’s become to the point where I think that the majority of our future long-term placements will be teens. Teens are a demographic of youth in care that are extremely overrepresented. I love teens because when they come to you, they’re at a very delicate stage of their life. Any decisions they make can be life-altering. As a foster parent, you have the opportunity to change the entire trajectory of their life in such a short amount of time. However, every teen is different, and some will be more receptive than others. Parenting kids with complex trauma of any age is challenging. If you’re heart is calling you towards teens, listen up!
I’m a new foster parent. How do I parent a child who has been through complex trauma?
Check out the “Resources” tab at the top of the page! Also feel free to message me if you have any specific questions.
I want to become a foster parent but my husband/wife/partner doesn’t want to! How do I talk them into it?
Fostering isn’t something that you can just talk your partner into. Although if they are open/curious about fostering, but just feeling anxious, that’s another thing. I think you just need to sit down and have a real conversation about foster care. Find out why they’re nervous. I’ve found that for many people, it’s the fear of the unknown. If that’s the case, try to educate yourself about foster care. Listen and read stories from former foster youth. Watch the Removed series on Youtube. See if there’s a local youth shelter in your town that you can volunteer at so you can actually meet the kids there. The children in foster care are very “out of sight” in our country. If you have a chance to actually meet them, I bet that a lot of your fears will be resolved.
I want to be a foster parent but don’t know if I can commit to doing it full time. Are there any other options?
YES! There are so many options available for people who only want to foster part-time. You can be a respite provider, which means that you give foster parents a much-needed break (not to mention you will be everyones all-time favorite person!) You can also become an emergency, after-hours placement (this may vary from state to state). If you’re an emergency placement, you may get calls in the middle of the night from CPS. They will ask if you can take a child who just came into care. You may have them overnight, or for the weekend until their social worker is back in the office and can find them a long-term placement.
There are so many options for part-time fostering. I met a 21 year old girl in college who, one weekend a month, would take in babies and toddlers as an emergency placement. She went to school full time but understood the foster care crisis and wanted to help the little bit she could.
Okay I’m sold. How do I become a foster parent?
Click the “Getting Started” tab at the top of the page and see how to become licensed in your state!