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Dan, Jefferson County

We had one Case Manager the entire 11 years we were foster parents at CCR. The employees never leave!

It is a popular question many prospective foster parents ask. If you want to become a foster parent there are many things to consider before beginning the process to get a foster care license. In particular, how will your family handle the challenges, changes, and rewards? We can answer nearly all your foster care questions with certainty and clarity, however, there are some questions that need to be explored more deeply and explored on an individual basis. There are so many variables to consider when exploring how your kids will be affected, it can often be difficult to provide a straight answer. The quick and honest answer is:

Yes, your children will be impacted if you become a foster parent, in great ways!

Being a foster parent can be challenging and rewarding. Fostering treatment level kids can be more challenging and more rewarding! Foster kids come into your family with a large amount of emotional baggage that you didn't have anything to do with creating. Due to significant trauma, they will have behaviors and express their emotions in ways that you have probably never dealt with before within your own family. Fostering can sometimes feel like riding a roller coaster, with flips and turns and an occasional upside-down twist. Every day is a different day in the world of fostering and one step forward often means two steps backward. If you have kids of your own, you must recognize that you will all be learning as you go. Fostering in the best of circumstances will be very different than caring for your own children. Bringing children into your family temporarily can be disrupting and it will most certainly bring challenges to an existing family unit. On the flip side, welcoming foster children into your family will offer you and your own children some wonderful, unique experiences that the majority of families and kids will never enjoy or benefit from.

Things to expect when children enter your family

  • Disrupted sleep schedules; nightmares, wandering, early rising
  • Hygiene issues; brushing teeth, bathing/showering, toileting, changing clothes
  • Lack of personal space; clinging, attention seeking, wanting or rejecting physical touch
  • Destruction of property; tearing books, breaking toys, ripping clothing, breaking household items
  • Lack of schedules; meals, bedtime, play, chores, hygiene
  • Inappropriate language; incorrect usage of words, outbursts, name calling
  • Lying; attention seeking lies, exaggerating
  • Food issues; hoarding food, hiding food, overeating, grazing

Your own children's ability to adapt to foster kids and their behaviors will amaze you.

Before you exit this page out of overwhelming fear, let us be clear. You may experience one of the above behaviors. You may experience four of the above. You may experience none of the above behaviors. Here is where answering your original question of how fostering will affect your own kids gets murky. It is difficult to say because every single foster child is different and every one of your own children is different. Much of how your kids react will be dependent on how you react. Your ability to parent with patience, use a calming voice, listen, remain consistent, be flexible, and care for each child individually and as part of the family unit will set the tone in the home. The good news is, the required foster parent training classes you attend will give you a multitude of tools to use. In addition, a clinical case manager will visit with you in your home weekly to provide foster parent support services to you, your children and your foster children.

"It broke my heart when I realized they never really had a routine before. They didn't know why my kids were sitting at the table ready for dinner or why they brushed their teeth before bed, did homework, or why the kids went to bed before the parents. They had no concept of a schedule." 

Allow your own children to adjust at their own pace

Kids will feel the impact in a variety of ways both good and bad. Welcoming a new child or sibling group into the home can be very exciting, the first few days in particular. Giving your children the freedom to feel and adjust to their own speed will benefit everyone in the family. They may need time or they may act like nothing is different at all. The majority of parents are shocked at how resilient their own kids are and how easily they adapt. Hopefully, if you are considering becoming a foster family, you have had honest discussions with your children about what might be expected. You know your kids better than anyone, their strengths and weaknesses, their abilities and what is in their heart. Be sure they know you can be trusted if they want to talk or share their feelings. We hear many stories about how amazing and welcoming kids are to their foster siblings. Kids stepping up and offering help and support is common.

"I literally cried when I saw my 14 year old son sitting in the hall teaching our foster daughter how to tie her shoes. He didn't question how she couldn't possibly know how to tie her own shoes at age 9. He just made the rabbit ears and helped her."

Your own children will have to make many adjustments no matter their ages. Some adjustments will be more difficult than others but in time, new routines will be natural.

  • Sharing a bedroom
  • Sharing a bathroom
  • Dinner table dynamics, seating, sharing of food
  • Sharing you!
  • Attending the same school, managing stigmas, feeling embarrassed
  • School bus routines, seating, and seniority
  • Distribution of chores and responsibilities
  • Helping with younger foster siblings
  • Meeting your expectations, being part of a foster family
  • Witnessing behaviors they don't understand

One of the most common things foster parents tell us is that their kids don't like being in between placements, or without foster kids in the home. Most kids will ask when another foster child or sibling group is coming and many older kids will miss the chaos of the younger kids and find they enjoyed a busy house full of craziness.

You will know in your gut if fostering is right for your kids and in the end, you will know when it's time to stop fostering

Trusting yourself is paramount! You can ask friends and family for their thoughts and opinions but you will come to realize that not everyone will think becoming a foster parent is a good idea for your own children. They may question your desire or motivation and ask "what about your own kids?". There are others in your life that will support you wholeheartedly and walk with you on your journey. The staff at CCR will tell you to trust your gut and consider your own child's personality, health, social life, school struggles or success, and many other personal things only you know. In the end,

The overwhelming majority of foster parents will tell you that fostering is the best thing they ever did for their kids!

Being a foster sibling will teach your children lessons and open their hearts in ways unimaginable. Just as it will your own. Learn how to qualify to be a foster parent with us.

Contact us today, we will have an honest discussion with you. 800-799-0450

 

 

 

 

 

 

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