When Your Spouse Wants to Foster
When your spouse wants to foster, what should you do?
If your spouse has brought up the possibility, you might want to learn about how the process works or find out if it's a good option for the two of you to start a foster care journey.
Fostering, like any form of parenting, is a combined effort, and it involves working closely together and adapting to the needs of the child in your care. There are many changes to consider, but there are also many new opportunities that can strengthen your marriage and family life.
We're here to tell you about all the positive impacts it can have on your relationship and community. Please keep reading to learn about foster parenting and all it entails, including what to consider first.
Think About Your Schedules
It's true that parenting is a lot of work and involves many new responsibilities. Fostering is also unique, as you're not only working with your spouse to care for the child but also with social services and, in many cases, the birth parents.
You and your spouse need to ensure that you have enough time to dedicate to caring for a foster child. You must participate in court hearings, visitations, agency reviews, paperwork, etc.
You need to be able to dedicate enough time to all of your new responsibilities. That isn't to say that one of you must be a stay-at-home parent. There are no stay-at-home requirements, and many foster parents work outside the home.
It would help if you simply were sure that you both have enough time to dedicate to parenting. You can learn more about your responsibilities and the foster parenting process through parent training, which prepares you both for your new roles.
Communication Is Key
Every marriage is different, and if you want to be successful in fostering while strengthening your marriage, you must learn to communicate. A lack of communication only presents more challenges and frustrations.
Talk to your spouse about the importance of being open and honest with one another about your expectations and limits. Learning to be flexible is vital, as you'll need to adapt to changes as you begin this journey to become a foster family.
It's equally important to listen to one another. Take time to listen and understand what your spouse wants from you.
Learning to communicate with one another will not only help you be a better parent, but it will also help to strengthen your marriage moving forward. In this way, fostering can help the two of you grow closer while you learn about foster care and adoption and the children in foster care.
What if You're Not Sure About Foster Parenting?
In many cases, a spouse may bring up the idea of fostering or becoming an adoptive parent, and the other spouse may not be on board. Take your time to consider all sides and whether it's a good fit. Discuss it first, including all the responsibilities and expectations involved. You may consider reading a book or talking to a foster parent advocate; if you feel called to the journey, remember to give your spouse time to catch up on this path.
Learn about fostering together, and have conversations about your feelings and attitudes toward it. At this point, it's essential to do your research and dispel any misconceptions you might have.
It might help to speak to other foster parents in your community, as they'll likely have advice for you that can make the process easier. It can also help you create new bonds and friendships with others in your area. There are many supportive foster parents in your local area.
Remember, there are many foster care success stories out there. Each marriage is different, and maintaining or strengthening your relationship depends mainly on the attitudes that the two of you have.
What if You Get Attached?
Your goal as a foster parent is to provide a safe and loving environment for a child in the foster system. Many kids are there due to neglect or abuse, and you might want to give them a new place in your family as a parent. Atatmentent is a common question and concern that many aspiring foster parents have.
When you foster, you never know how long you'll have the child in your care. Child Protective Services (CPS) works with the birth parents regarding the child's care. Often, the goal is a reunion with the parents or relatives.
Grief is one aspect of fostering that the two of you may face. You may get attached after spending several months caring for and bonding with the child. Learning to say goodbye is tough, but if the two of you lean on one another during the difficult times, you'll come through it stronger.
The two of you may even consider adoption. Many children need permanent homes, and foster care agencies rely on interested parents to help them.
Adapt and Adjust
There will be an adjustment period, whether you're new to parenting or new to fostering. You'll make mistakes, feel a wide range of emotions, and learn through new experiences.
Parenting can be a rollercoaster, but you have to remember you're not in this alone. You can rely on one another to make the most of each situation and adapt as necessary. Depending on one another and experiencing the ups and downs of parenting can even help you bond.
The key is to remain flexible. Understand that you'll have to make adjustments and work with others. If your spouse is tired after a long day or needs to stay overtime, you may need to step up and take over their responsibilities.
What to Do When Your Spouse Wants to Foster
So, what do you do when your spouse wants to foster? Take time to consider their position and learn about fostering and adoption. Decide if it's the right move, and you may see your relationship grow stronger; it could be a fun date night to learn about their feelings and thoughts.
The last Quote by Jason Johnson:
“As excited as we may be about fostering kids, we can be fairly certain that they're less than excited about becoming foster kids. It isn't our personal sense of excitement but their personal tragedy—their heartache—that drives our efforts. It's about our desire to see good come out of bad.
The first step is to learn more about how fostering works here in Virginia. When you're ready, fill out our contact form. We'll be in touch so you can learn more about this journey together.