Foster parenting and foster adoption are noble undertakings. But they’re not for everyone. So how can you tell if you’re cut out for the task? The foster adoption agency in Shasta County will take you through an application process, but there are still a few more questions you should ask yourself before committing to it.
Am I ready to help a child heal?
Many foster children have gone through traumatic circumstances, such as abuse or neglect. They may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and exhibit extreme fears, attachment difficulties, aggressive or regressive behaviors, difficulties in school, and more. Parents will need to be able to weather the emotional unpredictability and other upheavals that could occur as a child works through the process of healing. A child—particularly an older child—may test a foster parent. A foster parent must be able to not take things personally, but to continue parenting with loving purpose.
Am I willing to learn, grow, and change?
Parents who decide to foster adopt may run into challenges that feel beyond them or that trigger negative responses. It’s important for foster or adoptive parents to seek out supportive groups that understand the unique challenges of foster parenting. If a child’s behavior is triggering negative responses in the parent, it may be wise for the parent to seek out counseling for him/herself.
The parent should demonstrate leadership in improving and maintaining his/her own emotional health. Refrain from automatically assuming that the problem all lies with the child. Be willing to evaluate your own motivations, expectations, and past losses or trauma that could be influencing your relationship with the child.
Can I adjust my parenting approach?
Because a foster child comes from a different family, background, history, and possibly even a different ethnic group, an adoptive parent may need to adjust or completely revamp his/her parenting style. What your parents did or how your friends do it with their kids may not work for you. Be ready to assess what you need to change in order to help your adoptive child thrive. And be prepared for the possibility that relatives and friends may not understand.
The decision to foster adopt in Shasta County is a worthy cause. It’s important, however, to ask yourself the hard questions before you sign the papers. You don’t need to be the perfect parent, but you do need to be committed to develop and grow yourself and your child, and that could take some time and effort.