Sunday, October 14, 2012

{31 Days} Choosing to Foster – Dive in Together, or not at all

One of the most important factors in choosing to foster is to making sure your family is on board.  As a foster family you will need to establish a support system through extended family, friends, your church, etc. This will empower you to serve these kids without getting burnt out. But first, and foremost you NEED to know that your spouse is on board. If you have a strong desire to foster and your spouse is not ready for it, then, as much as I want to see more and more foster families and as much as it pains me to say it, fostering simply cannot work for your family at this time. Give your spouse information and have a positive conversation about it. Give them an opportunity to discuss concerns and reservations, hopefully information in this series will prove helpful to you. But do not pressure them, fostering isn’t just some one time decision, it is a commitment that you will be bringing into your home and your marriage.

It is no picnic, the various stresses of fostering will test your marriage, and bring to light any weak spot; you need to know that this was a choice that you agreed upon together, not a lopsided decision where one reluctantly gave in. As I’ve said before, not everyone can be a foster parent, but everyone do something to serve these kids. So don’t lose heart! If your spouse isn’t ready or willing to dive into such an endeavor check out my other posts about how you can be involved in foster care... with all of us coming together in our various ways, we will surely make the world of difference! :) 

Okay, so you and your spouse have discussed foster care and together you have decided to jump in. Wahoo! Welcome aboard this crazy roller coaster ride -- you will laugh, you will cry, sometimes you may want to scream into your pillow at night, and you will be forever changed. Now have a serious discussion with each other on how you can support each other through this. What do you need when you are stressed? How can your spouse provide that for you? And vice versa. Write it down and make a commitment to each other that you will love each other in this way. Trust me, you will thank me later! :D

Finally, discuss your parenting styles. These kids need consistency; they need to see you on the same page. Consider reading and discussing some parenting material together. In this series, I will also be providing some resources for general parenting and specific resources for parenting the abused child for your reference.

~Tristen :)

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