Becoming a foster carer takes courage, dedication, and passion. If you have what it takes, then congratulations. You are about to walk down a path that will surely change your entire perspective on life. Being there for a child or young person who really needs it is something that will enhance your own existence as well as theirs, and here’s how you can get the most out of this journey and really find joy in what’s to come.
Embrace Forward Thinking
Any seasoned foster carer will tell you gladly, that there can only be true growth in this role if you let your feet lead you to where you need to go. Forward thinking is about more than just looking at the next day ahead of you. It is more about considering the whole future picture, and where you fit into this in the context of this child’s life you are shaping. Make sure you take every day as it comes, while also being able to think ahead about the consequences of your choices at every turn.
Be an Open Book
There is a lot to be said about professional integrity in any role. For foster carers, this means taking on the challenge of balancing personal life around a calling that will hold you accountable for every decision and action you take while ‘on the clock’. When you open your home to a child, they come and live with you and that is the reality. By being an open book, you will be able to set authentic boundaries and inspire true connections which is the foundation of all strong relationship attachments.
Use the Tools You Are Given
Foster carers have a lot of mandated and optional training, and you should absolutely lean into this as much as you can. There will be invaluable advice, strategies, and information that will help you day in and day out. You should also be smart about how you use the foster carer pay awards because this is a great tool provided by your agency to facilitate an enriching placement as well.
Take the Good with the Bad
There will be great times ahead that will exist right alongside the bad ones. Everyone faces roadblocks in life, regardless of which path they tread. Your job will be to overcome these barriers in a defined way with support all around you whenever it is needed. Take the good days for what they are and live in them, while also accepting that harder times will come as part of the deal. It is all about finding a balance and being present, and this is where great carers really thrive in this environment.
Remember, You Are Connected
You are never alone. Real joy will come as you embrace the community of carers around you and lean on the support of professional social workers that will help you advocate for the best road possible for the children in your care.
Fostering is an experience that will change your life. It helps you grow and become a new version of yourself that will in turn transform the stories of all the children you support.