Foster parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a calling – a calling to give of yourself and care for the least, the last and the lost in order to be a successful foster parent. It requires more specialized skills than parenting your biological children. It’s no wonder foster parents are often called a “special kind of people”.
As a FaithBridge foster family, your roles include caregiver, family member and child advocate. It’s a tough, but very rewarding, journey. Here are 21 skills to help you succeed in your calling.
- Understand the commitment and impact of fostering.
- Understand how the addition of any new family member, especially a foster child, will affect existing family relationships, lifestyle and support systems.
- Be able to identify individual and family strengths and needs.
- Communicate well, openly and honestly.
- Work in partnership, as a team, with everyone involved.
- Assimilate foster children into your family.
- Provide normalcy, acceptance and a safe and stable environment.
- Provide basic needs (food, water, cleanliness, shelter and transportation).
- Provide structure and stability through schedules, routines, realistic yet challenging expectations and clear rules and boundaries.
- Discipline fairly and consistently.
- Help foster children develop emotionally, socially, educationally and spiritually.
- Encourage children in all areas of their life. Help them find their strengths and build on those, while helping them improve areas of weakness.
- Establish a strong community and support network, for both foster children and you and your family.
- Learn how to effectively parent children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned and/or emotionally mistreated.
- Learn about grief, loss and attachment issues that impact foster children.
- Help children maintain relationships with their birth family and develop relationships that keep them connected to their identity and promote self-esteem.
- Advocate for the well-being, safety and happiness of children.
- Use this as an opportunity to experience personal emotional and spiritual growth.
- Ask for help.
- Ask for support.
- Ask for prayer.
Seems like a lot? It is. But every day and every child gives you an opportunity to build on these skills, learn, grow and fulfill your spiritual call.