Foster parenting can be a daunting task, especially if you believe many of the stereotypes, myths and negative messages that you are exposed to regarding foster care and children in foster care.
There are few things in life more rewarding or noble than opening your arms and home to a child in foster care, so let’s break down some of the common myths when it comes to fostering:
MYTH: You’re too old or young to foster
It’s a common misconception that you can be too old to foster or too young to foster, as the only legal requirement in Virginia is to be above 21. What matters is your emotional maturity. Are you ready to take on a child in foster care? Are you prepared to deal with the difficulties in order to help give a child a better life?
If you answered yes to either of those (and are over 21), then your age doesn’t matter. Foster parenting could be right for you!
MYTH: Fostering could break the bank
Having a child is expensive, and the cost of taking care of another person financially can be a huge barrier to fostering. However, there are government funds and programs available to help you afford to be a foster parent.
Call us to talk to one of our parent trainers in order to find out what options are available for you.
MYTH: Foster parents can’t have a job
If you’re going to take care of a child in foster care, you have to be around all the time to care for them, right? WRONG.
Just like any other child, you can go to work while they’re at school or daycare or at home or with a babysitter — the list goes on and on.
Just because you are not their biological parent, does not mean that they are not your child for the time being. It’s best for children in foster care for you to treat them as if they were your own, and that includes you regularly going to work.
MYTH: You can’t be single to foster
Another huge myth is that you must be a part of a traditional family unit in order to foster a child. Being a foster parent is about emotional support and stability while a child is going through a tough time in their lives. A single person can do that, too!
MYTH: You won’t have a choice in which child you foster
As a foster parent, you are providing a comfortable and supportive home for your child. Part of that is being with a child in foster care that matches with you. You are not going to have someone thrust into your life without getting to choose them first — and the same goes for them when it comes to choosing you.
MYTH: It will be too hard to see your foster child go
Every parent’s worst nightmare is losing their children, and a major foster parenting myth is that it is guaranteed that you will eventually have to see your child go.
Fostering a child is providing them a stable home life until it’s time to return to their biological parents, and it is likely that they will have to leave. However, the compassion and dedication you showed in welcoming them to your home will have changed their lives forever.
And remember, kids grow up, too! Just because they are out of your home does not mean you will never see them again.
FACT: Fostering is a rewarding experience
Fostering a child can be a positive, life-changing experience for both you and the child. As much as you are impacting their lives, they are impacting yours just as well.