“I worry about how it will affect my children if I become a foster parent.”
I have heard that statement often from people who are interested in taking a role in foster care but do not know how to deal with the fear of the unknown that comes ‘with the territory,’ if you will. I have one biological child, one child adopted from foster care and one child who was adopted internationally. Though that does not make me an expert- it does give me the experience to speak on the subject.
I can honestly say that biological children are affected by foster care. It would be impossible to bring a new child into an existing family and not expect it to change things. Yet this is true for having a baby, fostering a child or adopting. Children are affected by everything that is brought into their lives. If a child comes into a house and leaves, the biological children in the home may not understand.
The easiest way to deal with the issues that arise from fostering is to talk about them often. Every child has the capacity to open their lives to another child, they just need the support from their parents to ensure that their emotional needs are met. In our family, my oldest is a biological child. He is exactly four and a half months older than his brother (who came as a foster child many years ago.) The main thing that I noticed about the changes in my biological son was that he grew up a little quicker. He learned to ‘take care’ of his brother because his brother had medical issues.
To say that he walked through untouched would be untrue but I have to say that my biological son has become a better person because we grew our family through foster care. He learned that he was blessed and when you have that much- giving is a good thing. He learned that not everyone has a happy home but when you do, share the happiness.
Not every day is easy or happy for my children. They struggle with each other. They bicker. They make each other’s lives miserable. Yet, they have learned to cross the barriers that where intended to separate and deal with life together. They have been touched by foster care and adoption in every facet of their lives. It affects everything, kind of. On the other hand, it affects nothing. They are a family. That is what they know.
If you are interested in foster care, please contact a local agency in your area. There are many children who are waiting for their forever families.