How Fostering Enhances Your Family
When you decide to become a foster parent, you do so with several things in mind - one being how offering a safe place to call home will positively impact on a looked after child.
It is a decision made after many weeks and months - sometimes years! - of discussion and debate because there are big questions to answer. For example, if you have children of your own, no matter how old they are, you may be worried how fostering will affect them. How will they cope? Will they welcome a foster child?
And then there is the effect on you, as a person and as a parent. Will you cope? Do you have all the right skills? What if it goes wrong?
Foster carers welcome a child into their lives with their eyes wide open. They know there will be parts of the journey that are emotional, traumatic and challenging. But maybe what they didn’t expect were the fantastic positive changes that came with fostering.
You may also find it helpful to make small adjustments to the temperature in your room. Most people tend to sleep better if their room is a little cooler. You can always add an extra blanket to your bed if you’re feeling a bit chilled.
The Best Version Of You
Opportunities and challenges are all around us. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it is not working or not meant to be. What it does mean is that we have to adapt to meet what lays ahead.
Those people who choose to foster are already one of life’s ‘good people’. But to rise the challenges and the rewards of fostering, you need to bring empathy and patience to the fore.
When you foster a child, your deepen a lot of skills, abilities and knowledge. You will develop an understanding matched by empathy. You will truly understand what it means to accept someone and all their emotional baggage.
A Positive Impact On Your Own Children
It is a common concern and certainly one that requires discussion - the potential negative effect on a foster carers own children of a possibly disruptive child joining the family. Dynamics will change and shift, not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
If you need convincing of the fostering benefits on your own children, you need to hear what children of foster carers have said about what it’s like to be a foster family. Your social worker or fostering agency will tell you more.
There is increasing bodies of evidence that show the children of foster carers are not only resilient, but increasingly empathetic and kind towards their peers and the looked after child. But key to a successful foster family is appropriate communication - in other words, discussing the needs of your own children, listening to their concerns and acting on them but shielding them from the bad stuff. Your own children don’t need to share the trauma of the foster child.
And let’s be honest, a foster child could also be the welcome extra playmate, as well as another sibling and a lifelong friend for your own child or children.
An Enriching Community
No one fosters alone. There is a whole heap of support from other, experienced foster carers to social worker, agency helplines, as well as more formalised and specialised support. And don’t forget the community - from religious centres to community groups and the education community too, there is a swathe of support for foster carers, the looked after child and the family as a whole.
The fostering community is waiting and willing to help any foster family, no matter how small or big the crisis or issue may be.
Fostering benefits are many and varied. You become an even better person, warm in the knowledge that you have made a difference to a child and their birth family for the right reasons. Your own children benefit and your community benefits too.
Foster benefits are real and tangible for the foster child, for you and your own family. Why not have a chat with Foster Care Associates Scotland to find out more?