How Fostering Children Can Change Your Life
A Life-Changing Lifestyle: Fostering a Child
I want to talk about how fostering will change you. Oh, you think it won’t? I challenge you to give it a shot. Oh, change is going to come!
So, I recently sat with one of our foster parents, who is currently in the fostering process. He enlightened me on how fostering has changed him in such a short period. He was doing respite care, whereby a child comes to stay at his home for a weekend or a few days max while the foster parents are away.
He enjoyed this as it gave him experience with fostering, helping the children and youth in the child welfare system, and supporting other foster family members. At the same time, they took a deep breath and enjoyed a weekend away with each other.
While fostering or adopting a child, it is important for your mental health and the welfare of the child you are caring for others; think of it as dropping your kids off at granmas home so you can go away for a date. It is normal for parents to take a break, which is true for birth parents, adoptive parents, and foster parents.
Then the big moment came when our agency called him for his first placement. A youth In my home and living with me Full time admitted that he freaked out for a moment and knew he was well trained and this is what he wanted to do; becoming a foster home and sharing his life was his calling, but he knew this was the moment he had been waiting for.
Think of the moment in the movie Instant family when you went from looking after just yourself to a family of three! By the way, this is a great movie for all prospective foster families puts instant gratification in perspective that fostering is a lot of work, but the rewards are fantastic.
I am so glad that he stepped up to the challenge. He is brought to tears when he thinks of how much this child has changed his entire world.
Understanding that fostering is a symbiotic relationship.
He stated that he thought it would all be one-sided since he was the one that reached out to be a help to the child. Still, in reality, quickly, he was shown that it is a symbiotic relationship once you get your child to love and care for.
He’s learning so much about himself, and I could feel the emotion as he explained it with amazement. I recall that he couldn’t even see this far down the pike initially, and now he’s raving over the bond they have formed.
You will see how much love you truly have in your heart. You may find that your heart can expand for this child you didn’t even help give birth to. It happens pretty often.
You will learn and gain more patience than you ever thought you could have for someone. You will give more grace, compassion, and empathy for this child than you even knew you had. Keep in mind the trauma through abuse and neglect they have been through, the losses they’ve already taken, and the trust that has already been destroyed.
When they come to you, they may have low or high expectations (same for you), but they will need you either way. They will need your guidance, your safety, and your love. If you can add some much-needed patience, I promise you; it’ll go a long way.
If you stick it out, you will begin to see the fruits of your labor, which is the impact of your service. When your child listens to you for the first time or when they get their first good grade after your tireless hours of tutoring, or when you get your very first hug from them after you remember when they wouldn’t even come near you. The list goes on. What is critical to recognize is that your impact on the child matters.
For this particular foster parent, every day, he is slowly becoming a changed man. This was his first time being someone’s father, and he was so worried initially, but now he couldn’t even see himself without this child. He told me his plans to adopt if the time and opportunity call.