Without foster parents, many children would have no place safe to live when trauma, crime, neglect, or any type of upheaval removes them from their homes. The only option would probably be to go back to orphanages or group homes, neither of which are ideal. Fostering is rewarding, time consuming, and challenging. Even with the challenges, many adults, both men and women, make the conscious choice to sign up and become foster parents. The reasons are as many and varied as the people themselves.
Some challenges faced by adults who apply to become foster parents.
- The amount of time involved – Adding children to a household, whether there are already children in it or not, increases the amount of time needed for parenting and care. Foster children often require even more time than normal due to the trauma and emotional baggage they bring with them.
- Background checks – Adults applying to be foster parents will have to undergo the inconvenience of having their background completely checked out. Child abuse charges, sex offender status, and criminal records are all accessed and vetted. Some people like to check out their own background ahead of time just to see what may show up. For those who do, it’s easy to do a fast criminal records lookup online, to get an idea of what will show up on their reports.
Common reasons for choosing to become foster parents.
- Desire to help children in need – this typically stems from loving children and wanting to help those who are in a bad situation.
- Want to extend their family – they already have children but have room for more and want to help those who need a home
- Desire to be needed – may not have had children, or children may be grown and gone, and they don’t want to be finished parenting children. Still have a lot of love, care, time, and attention to give.
- Were good parents and want to put their parenting skills to use – Some parents are really good at parenting and want to continue to use their skills helping children who need them.
- Money – Sad to say this, but some parents apply because they need money. They look at it as a way to increase their income and those who come into the foster program for this reason seldom use the money for the child’s needs, but instead use it for themselves. The authorities try to weed out these people but with shortages of homes and so little time to check people out, those motivated by money often slip in.
There are many more challenges and many more reasons for adults applying to become foster parents. The ones here are just the tip of the iceberg. In the end, the reasons don’t matter if the adults provide a loving, safe, and nurturing environment for children who are in dire need of it during a time of upheaval. For all of those parents, one of the main rewards is knowing they have made a crucial difference in those children’s lives.