This is something that every foster parent needs to manage the stress and challenges that comes along with being a foster parent. When I first started fostering, I did not realize how important and what a necessity this is. While most of us have the family members and friends that are our normal daily life support system, we also need this with being a foster parent.
This means that your daily support system will need to understand some basics of foster children and be open about children that may have issues or behaviors. Truthfully not every family member or friend will understand the foster children and everything that comes along with them. This can lead to people questioning you parenting style, choices, and at times even your abilities to parent your foster children.
The reality is that you will need someone to lend a helping hand to occasionally watch your foster children. Most likely family or friends will help when the need arises, and it will. You do not want someone to freak out because your foster child licks everything in sight, pees all over the bathroom or elsewhere in the house, or has complete meltdowns at the turn of every corner. People that could provide care for foster children will need to undergo a criminal background check in most areas if not all.
My sister became my respite care provider because she could handle most of my foster children. This can be a great opportunity for you as a foster parent so always keep this in mind as an option. Remember respite care providers will need to be willing to complete some training, paperwork and a criminal background check.
The extended support that I did not realize is doctors, therapists, dentist, hospitals, tutors, activities for your foster children, educational needs with children with different disabilities, school, church, etc. that also have to be a core part of your support system. I will be touching on the different support systems in the near future.
The important thing to remember is to start building your support system before your finish your training and continue build on what you have. Foster parents can always use help and additional supports.
Photo Credit: Lanette G.