Questions To Ask Before Becoming Foster Parents

This month is one year mark of when we adopted our son! It has seriously flown by and Josh remarked the other day that it feels like he has always been with us and part of our family.

I have only positive things to say about our foster care and adoption experience. We attended several amazing classes before we even found our agency and that really prepared us and answered a ton of our questions.

I highly recommend Arizona 1.27 if you are local. Arizona 1.27 is a non-profit that partners with local churches to recruit and care for the members of their congregation engaged in the ministry of foster care and adoption. Childcare was provided for our kiddos and we were able to go and learn more about the process and ask questions. I would also recommend the book Orphan Justice even if you aren’t considering fostering or adopting. It really challenged my thinking and started to break down some of the presuppositions I had about the foster care system and those who are part of it.

If you are thinking about becoming foster parents this post contains a few questions that will be helpful to ask yourself (and also spouse if you are married).

Do you have a supportive community of people around you?

I have to give a shout out to our family, friends, small group, church, my women bible study, preschool mama’s, and Josh’s co-workers on the fire department. They helped us survive last year. I am not exaggerating when I say that. We had people rooting for us and cheering us on. Make sure you have people like this around you. They may not understand what you are going through but a kind smile, supportive word, or friendly hug means the world to foster parents.

Are you prepared to have a new routine?

Whatever you day currently looks like be prepared for a new normal. The child that is placed with you is going to come with their own hurts and trauma. Therapies, doctors appointments, numerous agencies in and out of your home, and all this on top of whatever else you need to manage during the day.

Will you be able to come alongside a hurting family and work towards the goal of reunification?

Opening your home to a child in need of temporary care will give the parents the time and tools they need to help their family reunify. Reunification is the goal of foster care and you as a foster parent will play a large role in reaching this goal. Obviously if there are signs of abuse or neglect reunification may not be an option which leads to the next question…

Are you able and willing to adopt?

When we got our first placement and had our intake meeting with the DCS Investigator handling the case, we were asked if we were able to adopt. I am not sure if this is the case for every placement but be prepared to know ahead of time what your answer would be to that question. There is no right or wrong answer.

How will fostering and possibly adopting impact your biological children?

Our kids were ages 5, 3, and 1 when we started fostering. As we were getting licensed we talked to them about the baby who would come into our house and how we would be their family for as long as they needed until their own mommy or daddy could take care of them again. We also made sure to frequently explain to our kids that they we will always be with us.

Another factor to consider is birth order. If you have other children in your house are you going to take a placement older than your youngest biological child? For our family we knew that we would be sticking with the birth order of our kids, meaning that any child that was placed in our family would need to be younger than our youngest.

Have you counted the costs?

While there’s no financial cost to receive your foster family license, a considerable investment of time is required. The process usually takes about four to five months, and includes training, a home study by your agency, and a home inspection. This is just the beginning.

Fostering will cost you. You will be challenged emotionally and will quickly find yourself removed from the normalcy you had before. Be prepared to be uncomfortable. Your life will never be the same after doing this. Everything changes. Foster parenting is hard but worth the costs. Fostering allows a child to be in loving and caring home surrounded by people who will advocate for them. When we were taking our foster parenting classes it was stated that we should not be asking “can we afford to do this?”but “can we really afford not to do this?”. While saying yes to one child won’t fix or eliminate the need for services associated with foster care it will make a huge difference for that child.

Is your heart ready to offer radical hospitality?

Are ready to open up your home to a world that is hurting? I am not just talking about to a child. You will have countless people inside your home while you foster. Radical hospitality doesn’t just ask “do you want to be with us?” It says “how can we be with you?” You and your family have the opportunity to be a beacon of encouragement and grace to others. Radical hospitality uses the home we have as a tool that can further God’s kingdom. Radical hospitality welcomes those who look, think, believe, and act differently from us into our everyday lives. This helps others see what true Christian faith really looks like. The quote below sums up my reason perfectly for becoming a foster parent.

Check out these staggering statistics in Arizona…

Everyday in Arizona only 4 families become licensed to provide foster care yet 33+ kids (babies through teens) will come into foster care that same day.About 2700 children are currently eligible for adoption in Arizona.In the last year in Arizona only 23% of children were reunited with their families.If a girl ages out of the foster care systems she has a 2% chance of completing college and is 20% more likely to become pregnant before she is 21. This also means she is at a greater risk to become homeless, imprisoned, or a victim of sex trafficking.

There are so many ways to encourage and support foster kiddos! If foster parenting isn’t for you but you still want to help contact a local foster care and adoption agency to see if there are current needs they have. You could help organize a backpack drive for the upcoming school year, purchase Christmas gifts for a foster child, or sew a few blankets for kids who are just entering care. Many kids coming into care often come with very little so a stuffed animal or blanket for them to hold is a huge comfort for them. In Arizona you can also become a life coach to a teen who is about to age out of the foster care system.

If you have questions about foster care please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below :).

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