Perhaps you want to foster, but today is not the right time. That’s OK. There are several things you can do now to prepare yourself and your family for becoming foster parents next year. Here are five:
1) Get hands-on experience with children of all ages. There are many opportunities to brush up on your parenting skills. Ask your local county agency if they need volunteers to babysit during foster care meetings or support groups. Volunteer at group homes. Babysit for foster families. This will give you real world, recent experience working with children who may have been abused or neglected.
2) Be realistic about time commitments. Foster children require a great deal of time for doctor and dentist appointments, counseling sessions, school meetings and other activities. Review your schedule and commitments to see where you can make adjustments so you will be able to accommodate this change to your daily life.
3) Involve your support system. Foster care is not easy. Its success involves more than just you as a foster parent. Discuss your plans with your family and friends and listen to any concerns or reservations they may voice. If you aren’t able to address their apprehensions, you will have time to research the answers and calm their fears before bringing your first foster child home.
4) Make space. It’s not necessary to provide a separate room for your foster child, however you need to supply a bed and storage for clothing and belongings. Look around your home to determine how and where you will accommodate the child.
5) Assess your backyard. Survey your backyard to see if it is a place for children to play. Does your yard need to be fenced? If you have a swimming pool, is it fenced? Do you have any play equipment like a swing set or slide? If so, make certain it is in good repair and safely anchored.
When you’re ready to learn more, visit these websites:
Exceptional Families Adoption Campaign
County of San Diego HHSA Health and Human Services
Walden Family Services
Claire Yezbak Fadden is an award-winning freelance writer and mother of three sons. Follow her on Twitter @claireflaire.
Published: June 2014