Foster Family Advantages and Disadvantages

By Malcolm Baltar | Jun 30, 2021

Have you been considering becoming a foster parent? If so, you’ve likely had many conversations with the fostering community. Choosing to become a foster parent is a big decision, so you want to ensure you have all of the research and information before fostering or fostering to adopt. 

Fostering a child can bring you so many rewards along with challenges. Every fostering situation is different. You might have friends who have loved the fostering process, and others may have faced many hardships. However, you learn a lot about parenting along the way, and in the end, you’ve made it through an incredible journey to help a child in need of a loving home.

What Does It Mean to Be a Foster Family? 

When you foster a child, you’re responsible for caring for them to your best ability. You nurture them, encourage them and cultivate them into a responsible human being who has gained love from your family and parenting skills.

You can provide a foster child with so many new experiences, like taking them trick-or-treating for the first time, teaching them how to ride a bike or swim and letting them help you bake cookies. Additionally, you may be able to help mentor the birth family to help with family reunification. 

Children in the foster care system range in age from infancy to teenagers. Many may have been with different foster families, and some may get the chance to be with a lasting foster family until they’re ready for adulthood. Plus, if you’re looking to adopt, you can complete the fostering-to-adopt process. 

The rules and regulations of fostering vary from state to state, but you’ll have to complete background checks and an application first most of the time. Also, you might get the chance to attend classes on foster care to learn more about the journey you’re going to take with the foster child. As previously stated, there are many foster family advantages and disadvantages, but you’ll be sure to learn so much about foster care and help a child in need along the way.

The Advantages of Being a Foster Family

Becoming a foster parent or family is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Both you and the child you foster will experience so many benefits. 

You Can Extend Your Family

When you foster a child, you extend your current familial situation. Most of the time, you may have the opportunity to adopt the child you’re fostering. If you want to become a parent, you can finally become the family you have dreamed of by fostering. 

Additionally, you’ll make so many new friends and connections within the foster care system. You can connect with other fostering families, which broadens your social circle, not to mention your perspective.

The Foster Care Process Is Affordable

Foster care is affordable compared to international and even domestic adoption. Many states provide foster families with a stipend of some sort to help with the financial costs of raising a child. 

If you decide you want to adopt the child you’re fostering, you can get government assistance with that as well, including subsidies and insurance benefits. For schooling, your foster child may receive some scholarships and financial aid opportunities as well.

You Provide a Child With a Safe Environment

As a foster parent, you’ll get to provide the child with a safe and stable environment. Most of the time, the children in the foster care system come from unstable families or homes that cannot support them properly. 

The end goal of fostering a child is either for reunification with the birth family or adoption. Children experience loss when placed in the foster system, which is why you need to give them safety and comfort as they go through a transitional period.

The Disadvantages of Being a Foster Family

Like all parenting, there will be challenges and difficulties as you navigate through the foster care system. Here are some of the disadvantages of being a foster family.

There Will Be Unique Challenges

Every child in the foster care system has a unique story and background. Many children have likely experienced some loss or trauma. They were pulled from their homes and now have to fit into a new home with new people. 

Children have different coping mechanisms as well. Some children may need counseling sessions, and other children may have many physical health problems. When a foster child comes to your home, you’ll have to cope with them while providing a safe space.

You’ll Likely Get an Older Child

Older children deserve just as much love and care as babies and toddlers. Unfortunately, many families want babies or younger children because they haven’t experienced as much as the older children — not that it makes their situation any easier, though. Plus, it may be more challenging to bond with an older child.

On average, children in the foster care system are around eight years old, meaning that the system is geared towards older children. If you’re looking for an infant, you might end up waiting a long time. However, there are so many wonderful benefits of fostering an older child! 

There Are Stereotypes

Those in the foster family system understand what it means to foster a child and what happens with the children. However, those who were never educated on the foster care system may have preconceived notions about fostering or adopting that aren’t true. 

You’ll likely have to inform friends and family and correct their stereotypes. Plus, you will have to answer tough questions. It can be exhausting having to educate your family and friends, but it’s better that they get the correct information rather than follow the stereotypes.

Carefully and Thoughtfully Consider Fostering

After reading the advantages and disadvantages of fostering, hopefully, you are more informed and prepared to decide whether or not to provide a family for a foster child. Each child deserves a loving and comfortable home that can provide them with all of their needs. If that’s you, you’re about to embark on a rewarding journey.

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