The first thing you are going to have to have when it comes to fostering is patience. You need to bear in mind that some of these children have been moved numerous times in their short lives, some have been removed from their homes due to abuse and some have just lost their parents and are in complete turmoil. You cannot expect a child to arrive on your doorstep and immediately fit into the family. This is going to take time and patience on your side to win the trust of the child and make them feel welcome, at home and most important, feel safe and secure.
You need to have a desire to make a difference in a child’s life, even if only for a short time. Your desire should be to provide a child in need with a loving and stable home for as long as they need it. While this can be hard for you and your family, it is always important to remember that the child can be removed from your care at any time, whether it’s to return to their own home or maybe they have been adopted and are to go to their new forever home.
When it comes to fostering you are going to have to have a lot of understanding. Your agency should provide you with ongoing support at any time of the day or night to assist you with the more difficult cases. In some instances the child may be completely untrusting of adults, they may have behavioural problems as a result of what has happened to them in the past or they may even become too clingy and unwilling to let you go even for a minute because they have found someone who is willing to provide them with a loving and caring home. Understanding the child and taking the time to make them comfortable is something you will need to do.
One of the things that will be required of you if you are thinking of fostering is that you need to have a spare room. In most instances the agency will require you have a spare room for the child to call their own, not sharing with your own children or with a number of other foster children. The child will need their own space, a place they can call their own and feel comfortable, safe and secure.
You will also need to be healthy. You can consider fostering at any age and you can offer a home to children of all ages as long as you are fit and healthy. You will be required to have a medical examination to confirm this as part of your assessment process.
The approval process isn’t a quick process so you need to be willing to go through the detailed assessment process, which will sometimes take place in your own home. You must also be willing to go through necessary training. Once approved your name will be placed on the register and you will be contacted with children needing caring and loving fostering homes moving forward.