Fostering When you Have a Child
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that parents make amazing foster carers! If you already have your own children then you already know what it means to love a child and to be there for them throughout the ups and downs. Although fostering children is not the same as caring for your own children, your experience will put you in good stead to be an amazing foster parent and to really thrive in the role.
Who can foster?
You can foster if you are a single parent, a married couple, if you’re just dating, and if you’re in a same-sex relationship or civil partnership! Fostering is for everyone and we want anyone who is genuinely interested in foster care to have the chance to do something amazing.
Children who foster
If you’re worried about fostering when you already have your own children, or if you have an only child, then we can put your mind at ease. Fostering is an enriching experience for the whole family and one that everyone benefits from including your child and the foster child. Children who foster are taught valuable life lessons such as empathy and patience and learn to open their hearts and minds to those that are vulnerable.
In fact, there are several positive aspects of having foster children alongside your own, especially for only children, this includes:
Selflessness – your child learns how to think of others and consider their thoughts and feelings.
Sharing – learning how to share toys and indeed, a home, whilst still respecting personal space and boundaries is a valuable lesson.
Worldview – foster children broaden your child’s world view and can introduce them to different cultures, beliefs, and perspectives.
Emotional intelligence – your child will be familiarised with a broad range of emotions and learn how to communicate and healthily share feelings.
Maturity – as foster children will have suffered challenging and difficult past life experiences, your child will gain a greater understanding of other people’s struggles and understand their own privilege to have a loving parent.
Values – doing something amazing and becoming a foster parent teaches your child the value of family and helping others.
Advice for parents who foster
If you want to foster, everyone in your family must be on board and happy to welcome foster children into their home. This includes speaking to your birth children about what fostering is and what it will mean to them. They must understand that fostering a child in no way changes their relationship with you as a parent. If you have an only child, it’s especially important that they’re on board with the decision!
Our main advice for parents considering fostering is:
Prepare them for the realities of fostering
Ensure that you aren’t sugar-coating what it will be like to foster a vulnerable child or young person. Explain what fostering a child will mean for your family in an age-appropriate way and ensure that they understand it won’t always be easy!
Consider fostering children younger than your child
This is not always necessary and some children may be happy fostering children and young people of all ages. However, sometimes by respecting the birth order, you ensure that your child doesn’t feel overshadowed or in a power struggle with the foster child.
Spend special time with them
When the foster child comes to stay with you, they will undoubtedly need much of your time and attention and all efforts should be made to assimilate them as part of the family. That being said, making sure you take the time to spend special one-on-one time with your birth child can also be a good idea!
Reevaluate your decision regularly
Regularly check in with your child to ensure they are still happy with the arrangement and be sure to give them their say. Ensuring that they feel they have a voice and can air any issues if they’re having them is important and means you can hopefully resolve things before they become a problem.
If you and your family want to foster a child and would like to find out more information, please get in touch with us at Fusion Fostering. We are happy to talk through your decision with you and guide you through the next stages of the process. Please call 03301 239355 or fill out our contact form here.
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