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Considering Foster Parenting

Considering Foster Parenting

Becoming a foster parent can be extremely rewarding, but also very stressful. Not everyone is cut out to be a foster parent, so if it's something you are considering, make sure you understand exactly what is involved.

In many cases, foster children have undergone some sort of trauma, whether it's physical or emotional abuse. These children often come into your home with a lot of baggage, and may act out or be completely distant because of what they have experienced. You can't expect any easy answers or quick fixes to these issues, and you must be patient, loving, and provide positive reinforcement despite the upheaval that it can cause you and your family.

It's easy to get caught up in the idea of helping a child and adding to your family, but think about the financial ramifications. While you don't need to be rich to successfully raise a child, if your finances are seriously going to suffer, you may need to reconsider. Some states will pay you a monthly stipend for foster children, but this amount varies.

If you bring a baby or younger child into your home, you will need to buy diapers and formula, along with clothing and toys. If you choose an older foster child, there will be school and medical expenses. Also, if the child has a history of abuse, or is dealing with traumatic issues, counseling will be very beneficial. While there are some state mental programs for children, you might end up paying for the care you want out of your own pocket.

Your family should also be included in the decision, not just you and your spouse. If you have other children, how do they feel about someone else coming into the home? It may mean that your other children will have to share a room, or that they won't get as much of your time during the adjustment period.

Finally, there is always the possibility that the foster child you bring into your life will be adopted. A baby or young child will probably be adopted within a few years will you be emotionally able to give up that part of your life? You might have the option to adopt your foster child, but you must be prepared for them to leave one day. This can be very tough on all family members, so think about how willing you are to part with a child months or years down the road.


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