Society and civilization are the two pillars that have made man a social animal. They have instilled humane emotions into mankind, that commonly do not exist in the wild, untamed animals. Man is capable of understanding a fellow human being’s pain. Foster care is one such outcome, that has promoted families to undertake child care, of the children who have been through negative or traumatic incidences in their lives.
What is Foster Care?
Foster care is a concept of child custody. The children who are the victims of social and domestic violence, or the children that have been removed from the custody of their biological parents, are adopted permanently or temporarily, by parents or families, known as foster parents. Many families or married couples, volunteer to adopt children in order to help them. Government agencies go through a series of inquires and interviews, with the volunteering foster parents. Upon the completion of this process, the children who are homeless or are given up by their parents, are handed over to the foster families or foster parents. Many a times, these families are also allowed to permanently adopt these children.
Legal Requirements for Becoming a Foster Parent
Most of the nations around the world have government agencies for the process of foster parenting. Many of these agencies demand the volunteering families and parents, to meet some or the other necessities or rather, requirements. These requirements vary from state to state and country to country, but are mostly child-centric parenting factors. However, the following are some of the common legal requirements that should be fulfilled by the families volunteering forfoster parenting.
The applicant family or rather the parents, must have completed at least 21 years of age. Some times the minimum age requirement may also be 25 years in some places.
The home of the applicant must be located in a good locality, and must meet the safety, fire and sanitation standards that are prescribed by the foster care agency.
The foster child must have adequate room and personal space to live.
The applicant must not have any criminal record or any kind of charges pressed against him.
The volunteer parent must not have any kind of addiction or dependency on intoxicating substances, that include alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
How to Become a Foster Parent?
The process of becoming a foster parent is not at all easy and requires a lot of contribution on your part. The whole process involves many seminars, work shops and interviews. This may put a lot of stress on you, though you will realize in the end, that it was all worth the effort. The following are some important tips that you may like to follow while becoming a foster parent.
The first thing that you must remember is that, the child that is about to enter your family is not in a very emotionally stable state of mind. It is your job to help this child to come back to normal again. Many a times, the foster children are in a depressed state of mind, or are very angry or are simply too sad. The best way to cure this negative state of mind, is to start an appropriate interaction process and conversation with the child. The advantage of this is that the kid starts to trust you and feels free to pour out his emotions. The conversations also make him/her feel secure and loved. Ignore your ego and be patient, even if the the child is being rude, arrogant, disobedient or even violent. Never raise your voice or get angry on the child, for this will take you back a few steps, if you were actually making progress with him.
One of the best ways to help your child to adjust to a new environment, is to make him feel wanted. Introduce him to culture and the institution of family. Resort to moral giving stories and tales to teach the child what is wrong. Treat him/her like your own. One of the best ways to help the child adjust in your family, is to request him to do small chores. While gardening or cooking or doing the laundry, request the child to accompany you. Make him feel that he is wanted and that you need him, by saying things like ‘how can I start dinner without you?’ or ‘how can I water the plants without my watering partner?’ or ‘want to be my sous chef?’.
Sharing and giving the child a feeling of family love and bonding is very important. You can start off by placing a photo frame of the child on the mantle piece or the dresser, along with those of your natural children. Have all your children wear identical sweaters or T-shirts for special occasions. Also remember to have family fun together, all the time, even after the child has recovered from the depression period. The easiest way to do this is to be fun yourself. For example, sing all the time and request your foster child to join in. Another way is to put on some rock ‘n’ roll or folk music and have all the family dance together. You can also go for weekend outings or good rock concerts, movies and fishing trips. Try family camping or family vacations to bond with the new family member.
Never scold or yell when the child commits a mistake. Politely, kindly but firmly, explain the fault, the solution and the reason why such a fault should not be committed again. You will eventually teach the child the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
One last thing to learn, is to love. Because that’s what all children deserve. Your foster child needs all the love in the world. At first, he or she may not respond to you at all. An affectionate pat, a delicate kiss on the forehead or a warm hug, all display a lot of affection for your child. By the end of the day, learn to give your child the affection and unconditional love that he needs.