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I Became a Foster Parent - Did I Make a Mistake?

Am I too Wimpy to Continue Being a Foster Parent?

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So, you've taken a new placement and the excitement has worn off and then reality hits. "Did I just make a huge mistake," "This is just too hard," "What was I thinking."

I can tell you that while you may be feeling a bunch of different emotions, you are not alone in that thinking and it doesn't matter if you're a brand new foster parent or a foster parent with many years of experience. Some new foster placements can bring with them a lot of self-doubt and brand new challenges.

Normal Foster Parent Feelings with New or Challenging Placements

  • Overwhelmed
  • Excited
  • Nervous/Anxious
  • Tired/Exhausted
  • Inadequate
  • Scared
  • Hopeful

Ideas that Any Foster Parent Can Apply When the Above Feelings Hit

  • Give the children time to adjust in your home. Know that each child will adjust at his or her own rate.
  • Say no to any new responsibilities during the adjustment time.
  • Get organized. Plan out your schedules in advance and how you will be able to get different tasks accomplished. Prioritize your list of tasks.
  • Call a friend when you're feeling stressed, other foster parent friends are often the best choice.
  • Be prepared before accepting new foster placements, especially for very young children.
  • Take a break from being a foster parent, whether a short term break when you don't accept any new foster children or for a weekend respite.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself if you continue to struggle with enjoying being a foster parent to the children.
  • Don't be ashamed or fearful to disrupt the foster placement.
      Know that it's best to:
    • Do it sooner rather than later. Don't wait 90 days when you know on day 10 that it's not going to work long-term.
    • It's going to hurt to disrupt, even on childrne you don't enjoy.
    • It doesn't make you a bad foster parent. All foster parents will disrupt a placement sooner or later.

Know that every foster parent will struggle with a new placement. Your feelings are normal and you are not alone in this process. Seek support and continue giving your best, but not at the detriment of your own personal happiness and that of your family. Not every foster placement works out.

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