Tuesday, April 19, 2022

How To Introduce The Idea Of Foster Care At Home


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When you become a parent, you begin to see the world in an entirely different way. Suddenly, as well as experiencing much more joy, previously unseen risks can become all too obvious. Many parents also find that the suffering of other children starts to take far more of an emotional toll, and may even drive them towards action that they’ve never considered before. 

This can manifest in a range of different ways, including regular charitable contributions or a desire to volunteer at things like fundraising events for kids in need. However, for some parents, this sudden realization of the hardships children face can result in a far more pressing and life-changing need – the desire to become a foster parent. 

By literally bringing children into your home when they have nowhere else to go, it’s certainly possible to have the most direct impact. The question is, when you already have a happy family life at home, how exactly do you go about introducing the idea of foster care in the first place? 

Make it a choice, not an ultimatum

While there are now approximately 214,421 foster carers in the US, figures have declined by around 2% in recent years. This is due to various factors, but inter-family disagreements surely play their part. Most often, this is because foster care is put to existing children as a definite thing, rather than a choice that they have a say in. This leads to as much resistance as any other order that you give your kids, and can be incredibly unhelpful. Hence why the first and best thing you can do when discussing foster care is to always leave the conversation open, and help your children understand from the beginning that this isn’t something you’re imposing on them, but rather a choice that you must all make together. 

Work with professionals

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Foster care is a new experience for all of you, meaning that you could also benefit from seeking the professional help and guidance that’s offered by both foster agencies and outside organizations like Youth Villages. By ensuring that you all have the full scope of information to understand your foster options, you can then ensure the viability of this plan with everyone’s seal of approval. Not to mention that your existing family is way more likely to take this seriously if someone experienced and knowledgeable is leading the way. 

Respect their feelings

Ultimately, your kids are going to develop their own feelings about fostering. Only by making room for those feelings can you even come close to making the right choice for everyone. It may be, for instance, that your kids need time to manage any anxiety that they feel about this. Equally, they could have personal reasons for objecting. Be respectful of that, and either give them the time they need or realize that, in extreme cases, this might simply not be the best option for everyone. 

Foster care is a major decision for the whole family. Have you thought about how to include everyone in this process?

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