As a foster parent, I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why “I could never do that”.
At first, this comment really grated on me. But over time I came to understand what the person is really trying to say. They are trying to say that they admire me and that they honestly think it is such a hard thing to be a foster parent.
I’m going to go ahead and give you my top ten reasons I have heard for “I couldn’t be a foster parent”…, and then disagree with this reasoning.
You will have to forgive me if some of this post comes across harsh. I fully believe that not everyone is called to foster, just as I believe that not everyone is called to go overseas. But I also firmly believe that there are more people in this country who are called to foster, but who are running in the opposite direction because of fear and excuses. I don’t want that to be you.
- I am too young/too old. As long as you are over 21, you can be a foster parent. There is no top age limit (although you will be physical evaluated) on becoming a foster parent.
- I have biological children who will be affected. Yes, your biological children will be affected. And those precious children have been given to you by God to raise and protect. But instead of assuming that foster care would ruin them, maybe you can instead think of all the benefits that your children will gain from being involved in such a hands-on ministry.
- I am single. You can still foster while single. Some of the most amazing foster parents I know are single Moms. And yes…they work jobs.
- My husband and I both work. That’s fine! While it might be a bit difficult to fit appointments into the schedule, it’s totally doable! No agency will turn you down simply because you both work. And the agency will help to pay for the cost of daycare.
- We don’t make very much money. We don’t, either. I talked about this a lot in my finances post. While you will not make any money from foster care, you will receive enough to provide for having extra children in your home.
- We would love to foster, but… I hear this a lot, and most of the time I don’t know how to respond. If everyone who “wants to foster” actually did it, there would probably be almost no need for foster homes in our country. Seriously. The people who say this to me are the ones that I want to talk to the most, because I feel that God has laid it on their hearts to help foster kids, but there are too many fears in the way. Seriously…if you would eventually love to foster, consider it now. Start doing some research. Sit down and have some hard conversations and ask yourself some really thorough questions, starting with “Why not now?”
- Our house is too small. Ok, this could be a legitimate issue in fostering, but how small are we talking here? Do you have more than one bedroom? Then you can foster. Yes, some of the children might have to share rooms and you might have to limit how many children/the gender you can take, but the agency is not going to say no to you if you want to become foster parents just because you have a smaller home.
- We are in the military/move a lot. Yes, this one could also be a little bit more complicated. You cannot take a foster child out of state, unless you are well on the way through the adoption process. HOWEVER, you can transfer your license from state to state so you will not have to start over from square one. If you know you are going to be somewhere for a certain amount of time, you can still foster. Even if it’s just for a few months. And don’t forget that you can always be respite foster parents anywhere that you go.
- I don’t want to foster a teen/someone with special needs. This was one of my biggest fears going into foster care. I was afraid that I would have to take in whoever needed homes. The most intimidating thing for me was taking in a special needs child. And then their was the overwhelming guilt of admitting that I had limits and some of those limits were unfair to the kids who needed homes. But I will tell you that you never have to say yes if you don’t feel comfortable with the placement. It’s ok if you don’t feel like you could take on special needs or teenagers or even toddlers! You can narrow it down to a range of a few months if you really want. They still need you as foster parents.
- I could never say goodbye. Yes, Goodbye is the hardest thing in the world. It has taken me MONTHS to begin to emerge from my grief in losing Little Miss. And I’ve heard it will never get easier. But that’s fine with me. Because it was worth it. Would you really let the hurt of your own heart keep you from helping their hearts heal? Would you rather keep yourself walled off or would you love to experience the deep freedom of giving to a child who had no one else? Trust me when I say that IT IS SO WORTH IT. You will not regret doing foster care because of the goodbyes.
So, I just want to challenge you to search your heart. I have heard all of these and more, and not only that…but I’ve felt and thought all of these and more! You are not alone in feeling that you are not capable of fostering. But I just want to challenge you and encourage you to consider it, pray about, evaluate it and then come to a conclusion. It’s ok if you are not called to foster. Not everyone is. But don’t let fear or excuses get in the way of doing something that will not only change your life, but the lives of many children.
If you have any questions at all about foster care or adoption from foster care as I go through this series, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment or send an email. At the end of the series, I will have a Q&A day and will be answering any questions I receive throughout the month.
Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: Meet the Hines
Day 3: Shop Feature: Karla Storey
Day 4: Why We Chose to Foster
Day 5: The Process
Day 6: The Cast of Characters
Day 7: The Paperwork
Day 8: The Goal is Reunification
Day 9: Reflections
Day 10: Shop Feature: Ransomed Cuffs
Day 11: The Placement
Day 12: The Daily Life
Day 13: The Extra’s
Day 14: Bonding
Day 15: The Goodbye
Day 16: Reflection
Day 17: Shop Feature: Together we Rise
Day 18: Finances
Day 19: Rules
Day 20: Foster or Foster to Adopt
Day 21: Public Agency or Private Agency
Day 22: Books/Resources/Blogs
Day 23: Reflections
Day 24: Shop Feature: The Archibald Project
Day 25: How You Can Be Supportive
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