What Foster Parents Wish Others Knew

21/02/2014 12:00am

If you are a foster parent or have been one in the past, you’ll understand that with the responsibility of caring for a child also comes a great deal of questioning from family, friends and work colleagues. A lack of common knowledge of how fostering operates and a natural curiosity of how it comes to influence everyday family life drives an interest, but when you’ve got the accountability of helping a new child settle it, sometimes you wish the questions would wait.

Covering some of the most commonly asked questions, here are issues foster parents wish others knew.

We’re not just babysitters

Children may be placed in our care for a short period of time as a support system, and others may stay forever. What matters the most is that we care about each and every one of them and we most certainly look at it more than just a job. While they are part of the family they’re our children; we  treat them no different than if they were our own.

We miss them once they’re gone

Sometimes people in your life go away, that doesn’t stop them from being important to you. They were part of our lives and they will be missed. Let us talk about the children that have left our care and how much we miss them. There may be another child coming into our care soon but that doesn’t mean we think foster children are interchangeable.

They aren’t our child…yet

Assumptions are made that you foster in order to have a child of your own, but often this isn’t the case. Many foster children will go home or to other family members.  If we do decide to adopt a child we have been fostering, it can take a long time to go through the adoption process.  We appreciate your interest but please don’t keep asking.

Sometimes we need a helping hand

Even if our foster child is older, it can be as exhausting and stressful as having a new baby. A helping hand with everyday necessities such as cleaning or looking after the other children in the family will always be welcome, the support of family and friends is invaluable.

A book shouldn’t be judged by its cover

Some people may have preconceived idea’s about looked after children, please don’t make assumptions and don’t be judgmental. Be careful about what you say in front of our foster children. Put yourself in the child’s position; it would be horrible for them to hear people they don’t know or trust speculate about their families and future.

Why not share this with your family and friends as a way to provide them with a more complete view of the foster parenting experience. Who knows it might even inspire them to consider giving foster parenting a try too!

If you are thinking about getting back into foster parenting or know someone who is considering providing care get in touch with us on 0845 200 4040 or email us on info@nfa.co.uk