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Tips for foster parents from foster care alumni

If you’re considering becoming a foster parent, you’ve probably done your homework and consulted the expert opinions of professionals, clergy, authors and other foster parents. 

But perhaps one of the most valuable sources of information to consider is a child or teen who lived in foster care.

So we’ve asked some foster care alumni to share their perspective and wisdom with prospective foster parents. Here’s what they have to say:

Acknowledge that my history has forever changed who I am. “The day I was removed [from my family’s care] made me a completely different person,” said one alumnus. “Become experts on helping kids and youth through trauma, loss, fear and loneliness. Expect that we’re not like ‘normal’ kids. We have messed up backgrounds. When you sign up to be a foster parent, understand that you’ve signed up to help us work it out.”

Be ready to commit. Understand the type of child you can best parent. How much attention and supervision are you willing and able to give? Once you accept me into your home, be ready to stick with me no matter what comes. Buckner staff can be a great support here.

Think about older kids. People often think about younger kids when they talk about foster care. “We need families who can parent us older kids too, even though we may not always say it,” said another alumna. You don’t have to have all the answers. Even young foster parents should think about us, because they can relate more, are more active and have more energy.

Have a good marriage. We need the stability of a strong marriage to help us manage the challenges we face. Also, we learn from what we see.

Let us make some of our own choices. It lets us practice making decisions, and we can learn from both good and bad decisions while we have you there to keep us safe, comfort us when we are hurting and help us get back on track.

To learn more about how you can become a foster parent and make a difference in the life of a child in need, request more information here.

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