Foster parenting is not for the faint of heart! The goal in foster care is ALWAYS reunification with birthfamily, if at all possible.
And sometimes it isn’t easy. Supporting reunification can be difficult, especially given some situations of dysfunctional, unstable families on the brink of collapse.
But what if your home is much more stable? Can a foster parent support reunification if they feel they can provide a much more stable environment for a child? How can a foster parent support reunification knowing that a foster child will be going back to a dysfunctional home? As a foster parent, how do you keep your feelings in check?
7 Tips for Foster Parent Emotional Health
- Remind yourself constantly that reunification with birthfamily is #1 priority (even if your heart you is telling you that you’d be a better parent).
- Take it one day at a time and love your foster children (and their birth family) unselfishly.
- Show love to the birthfamily during the process. Remember Mother’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, etc. Our birthmother received her very first Mother’s Day card ever (with her third child) from our 10-month-old foster baby. She bragged and bragged in court about her Mother’s Day gift.
- Treat your foster children as your forever children, then when they leave, go ahead and grieve.
- Realize that you will feel all sorts of emotions during the process – grief, guilt, selfishness, etc. – it’s okay to have emotional attachments to the children you raise.
- Realize that some foster children will be with you only for a while, but there will eventually be a child that needs a forever home.
- Pray! Pray for yourself, your foster children, their birthfamilies constantly throughout the process. Give it all up to the One who knows all and can take your emotional burdens so you don’t have to. He already knows the plan for you and your child’s future!
Foster parents just have to find their own way through the emotional roller coaster of parenting these children from hard places. God has a little one already planned for you… it may be this child, or it may be another one. But someday you will have the forever child that has been waiting for you all along!