Child abandonment, neglect, or abuse are not happy topics. Making a positive difference in a child who has been a victim to one or more of these situations, though, certainly is a heartwarming thought. It can be more than a fleeting notion. You can completely turn a suffering child’s world around by becoming a foster parent. There are many reasons why becoming a foster parent may be right for you.
Foster Kids Need Committed, Loving Adults
When newborns have dependable adults in their lives to help them regulate their needs and behavior, they grow to have self-regulatory skills. These allow them to be ready to focus on learning academic skills when they enter school. Hypothetically, a foster parent could provide that nurturing environment to set a child on the right track for success. However, only 7% of the approximately 437 million children in need of a home are under the age of one.
Children who do not have the benefit of a responsive and caring home environment during their early years are likely to suffer in school from any number of the following consequences: learning problems, depression, anxiety, aggression, oppositional defiant disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, lower economic productivity, and many more unfortunate outcomes. Those children are already struggling with emotional scars from their past and now face academic barriers. They need a willing advocate to be on their side. Furthermore, they need someone who can get them what they need to turn their school performance and emotional health around. That person could be you!
You are Capable
You may have had the sunniest childhood imaginable. While this is wonderful news for you, it may make you feel as though you are not qualified to understand and help someone who has a traumatic background. There is no need to worry.
Pre-service training is required before anyone can foster or adopt. This will help you understand the child’s background, learn how to help him or her cope, and network to have supports in place for you and the child as you learn more about what he or she needs.
Your Biological Children Will Learn, too
Most parents strive to raise kind and compassionate children, yet 80% of children feel as though their parents value achievement over kindness! So, what are we doing wrong? Perhaps we need to go to greater lengths to model compassion for others.
What better way than to open your home to a child in need and bring your entire family on board to love and welcome that child. This shows that caring for someone other than ourselves is a priority in our households and raises a new generation of young adults who are willing to care for others, even those outside their immediate family.
Fill the Empty Nest
Children who are older than six or have more than two siblings have the hardest time finding a welcoming home. It is understandable that it may be a challenge to find room for one child, let alone three or more. However, many couples find that they have ample room for a large family. After the kids have grown, turn those now-empty bedrooms into new rooms of hope for siblings hoping to hold onto each other in a life that is otherwise in pieces.
You Grow Along with the Child
Have you ever experienced a moment when you thought your heart couldn’t possibly grow any bigger? Perhaps it was after the birth of your first child. You felt like you could explode with emotion and would never love another human being so unconditionally and completely. Then your second child came along, and you realized that your heart had expanded to an amazing new level. You learned it is possible to love another human being as much as before. You grew with that experience. The honor of fostering a child is no different. You will learn to love more deeply, empathize, and see things from a new perspective. In the end, the foster child will face a brighter future because of you, and you will have matured along the way, too.
Fostering a child (or children) can be one of the most rewarding experiences for everyone involved. It offers a child a loving environment, adding to the joy of your family. You may be surprised to discover just how viable the endeavor may be for you and your family.