Making the decision to becoming a foster parent is an exciting one. It is a decision that is rewarding in so many ways. It is also one that takes incredible commitment, unconditional love, and patience. Here are ten tips that will help all new (and veteran) foster parents as they care for children in crisis in their homes and as part of their families.
1. Time for Yourself
As a foster parent, this will be difficult, as you will be required to take care of a child full time. Along with this, you may also need to care for your own children, as well as your spouse. You may have a full-time job that requires a great deal of your energy, plus there are those other commitments you have, such as church, volunteering, and other organizations you might be involved in. Finding time for you will not be easy, but it is very essential. Make time to do something you enjoy, and that you find relaxing. Spend time with some friends, perhaps over lunch or dinner. Do not neglect your own personal health; make sure you get plenty of exercise regularly and eat healthy.
2. Foster Parent Support Groups
There are a number of foster parent support groups and associations across the nation. A few of these organizations may be national ones, while many others are, comprised of foster parent, like you. Either way, you will benefit by being in a support organization, as they will provide you with not only support, but information, fellowship, and important insight that will help you be a better foster parent.
3. Remember to “Be in the Moment”
I imagine that you have the same experiences from time to time. You worry too much about the future. You grow concerned about what has not happened yet. You allow yourself to become overwhelmed with these feelings and these anxieties. Instead, we need to remember to stay in the moment, so to speak, to focus on the here and now, instead of what might happen, of what could be. When we worry about what might happen in the future, we lose the chance and the opportunity to embrace and enjoy what is happening in the present time. When we allow our worries and concerns overwhelm us about future events, we do not allow ourselves to be helpful to those around us in the present moment. As foster parents, we can’t care for, help, teach, and love the children…