The decision to foster is not a spontaneous thing. It takes time and the process is lengthy to ensure the safety of all involved. It is also massively rewarding, and all the effort of the preliminary period is more than worth it when you get that first placement. After you make the choice to set yourself up as a foster family, it is good to remind yourself of the benefits for those tougher days that may come along. With that in mind, here are the best benefits for the whole family.
Fostering a Child Teaches Empathy
Empathy is a skill that takes time to develop, and while some of it is intuitive, a lot of empathy skills are a learned process. Bringing a foster child home who is likely to be from a starkly different background and upbringing than the resident biological children creates an opportunity. This opportunity is governed by learning, emotional connection, and a broadened view of the world.
Many children going into the care system are there for a serious reason as the decision to separate parent from child is not one taken lightly. The circumstances are confidential and certainly not a topic of gossip, but a natural conversation will occur especially if the children are of a similar age. This experience will shape both biological and foster children and evoke a scale of empathy that was previously untapped.
Fostering impacts everything in different ways, sometimes positive and sometimes in difficult ways too. Whatever the day holds, it will definitely be a new experience. The importance of communication within the family unit becomes more relevant than in other contexts. Adults need to be able to clearly converse with their children about expectations, situations and safety, and children need to feel capable of talking about any concerns and excitement that might crop up. Similarly, the foster child should be involved in this process too.
New Opportunities and Experiences
Aside from the clear benefits of branching out in diversity, meeting new people from all walks of life, and opening your home to a child in need, a foster family has the opportunity to see the world in a different light. Days out are more accessible owing to the foster care pay specifications, and you get a fresh perspective on what is fun which leads to variety and new routines.
The Opportunity to Learn About Closure
Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is in itself a chance to teach children about closing chapters amicably. Through this process, friendships are made for life. Even when placements end, foster carers frequently stay up to date and in touch with their previous placement children. So, when the door shuts, it isn’t shut forever, and this is a turning point in developmental understanding.
Fostering in the wider family unit holds a vast chasm of opportunity. Not only is it a wonderful experience for the adults, but the children as well. Every member of the household has a chance to create a meaningful, strong connection and change someone’s life.