Becoming a foster carer means undergoing a lot of training, listening to a lot of people, and building a new level of resilience. The rewards from this career path are amazing and vast. If you are considering stepping up and stepping into this profession, you might be wondering what it actually takes to become a foster carer. Well, this guide has all the answers.
Knowing Where to Begin
When you first make the decision to become a foster parent, you will have a lot of decisions to make. Firstly, thinking about which agency to sign up with will be a big choice that demands some research. Secondly, you’ll need to understand which type of foster care you want to explore; for instance, do you want a long-term placement or a short-term placement? Thirdly, will you have the mental capacity to transition and support the young people coming into your home? When you have the answer to these three questions, you should be feeling ready to begin your first placement.
Anyone looking after young people and children need to have a certain degree of patience. It requires immense regulation and self-control. There will be moments that push you to your limits, and ones that take you to a whole new space of resolution. You will learn a lot about yourself through all the young people you provide a safe space for, and it will always come back to finding patience in those transitional periods.
Connecting with children and young people in your care will demand a certain level of empathy. Empathy skills are invaluable to foster carers because they are the thing that allows you to see the world through a different lens and respond accordingly.
What makes you get up and go every day? This is motivation, and you will need some. Just like any profession, there will be great days and not-so-great days to circumvent. Staying motivated means looking after yourself within the scope of fostering too. Self-care will motivate you to stay strong for your foster children and ensure your mental well-being is well-catered to as well.
Dedication can wear many different faces. In this context, it means not giving up and finding a new way forward. There is always a new path to explore and it is at these forks in the road that you invoke all you have learned from your training and the support of the social workers on your team too. Dedication means living up to your side of the foster care arrangement.
As a foster carer, honesty is important. Not only do you have to be truthful with your foster children in order to establish a trusting bond, but you have to be honest with yourself as well. It is important to address your strengths and weaknesses in equal measure and discuss any topic that might come your way.
So, what does it take to be a foster carer? The answer is only you can tell. With an honest approach, and a dedication to keep on learning and be the best you can be for your foster children, anything is possible.