A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming Foster Parents in Georgia
Becoming foster parents in Georgia is a great way to help children in need, but it can come with many difficulties. New foster parents may struggle to understand what their children in foster care need and how to speak with them effectively. After a while, being a foster parent may feel like more of a challenge than you can handle.
How can you prepare yourself and your home for a child in foster care?
If you are hoping to become a foster parent, there are some steps that you can take to ready yourself for a new arrival. Here are some tips to help you become an amazing foster parent.
Purchase the Basic Necessities Before They Arrive
If you want the children placed with you to feel safe and happy arriving at your home, then you should purchase some basic necessities before they are scheduled to arrive. Get some nice clothes for them, including several pairs of pants, plenty of shirts, socks, underwear, and at least one pair of shoes before they come. Hygiene products are also important to have before arrival.
If your children are school-age, then getting school supplies ready is a great idea, too! Include some toys or books in your necessities list as well, especially for younger children. These little gifts will make them feel more welcome in the home.
Of course, once they arrive, you can take them out shopping and let them pick out a few extra clothes, toys, or other necessities as well. That way, they can have items that feel more personal to them along with what you’ve already selected.
Understand the Importance of Biological Parents
While you will be the authority figure in the home for your children, you need to understand their connection with their biological family. Children in foster care are experiencing trauma due to their entry into the system and their previous circumstances, so make sure you give them time to adjust.
If their biological parents are allowed phone calls, then let your children continue to have a connection with them. Remember, these parents are not bad people; rather, they’re navigating difficult circumstances that have led them to be temporarily unable to take care of their children. However, they still deserve to have a place in their lives.
Use Effective and Open Communication
In order to bond with the children placed with you, it’s crucial that you use honest and open communication with them. Leave an open line for them; offer an ear if they want to talk about anything, and make plenty of time for them! They’re in a difficult situation and need all the support they can get.
Understand and Use Positive Discipline
When caring for your child, you may experience some difficult situations that require you to use discipline. Make sure you have plenty of positive discipline skills ready before such a situation happens; this means that you should avoid using punishments, and instead use disciplinary actions to show that what they’ve done is wrong.
Corporal punishment is never allowed in foster homes due to potential past abuse in the child’s home. Instead, consider time-outs or cool down sessions for your children in foster care so that they can take a break and reconsider their behavior.
Have a Support Network for You and Your Children in Foster Care
Because fostering can be difficult, there are foster parenting support networks to give you support and advice while fostering a child in Georgia. You can find these support groups both on and offline, making them possible to find no matter where you live!
Even if it’s not required, you may also want to consider setting your child up with a therapist. A therapist can act both as a support and a guide for your children and can help create a strong support network with them.
Create a Routine
Building a routine in your household will help your child adapt and adjust to their new environment. Schedule mealtimes, bedtimes, bath times, and fun times so that your child can follow along.
Of course, if your child runs behind or is unable to stick to the routine all the time, that’s alright. They may struggle with routines at first, but it will help them adapt over time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
No matter how prepared you try to be, you are likely going to struggle at some point during your fostering experience. It’s important for you to know that it’s ok to ask for help if you need it. You won’t have all the answers, but if you reach out for help, you may find someone who can answer whatever questions you have. In fact, Wellroot has a 24/7 on-call line for foster parents to utilize in emergencies or if they feel overwhelmed.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
New foster parents often have a hard time making time for themselves while caring for children in foster care. This can leave you burned out and make fostering a much more difficult experience than it needs to be.
Make sure you take the time to practice self-care while fostering. Go for walks by yourself, take naps, do whatever makes you happy so that you don’t get overwhelmed. In the end, taking care of yourself will help you best take care of your child in foster care.
The Joys of Becoming Foster Parents
Children in foster care all over America need your help to thrive in a system that is often unforgiving. Becoming foster parents in Georgia is a great way to help these children and give them another chance at the childhood they deserve.
Do you live in Georgia and are considering becoming foster parents?
We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about fostering a child in Georgia and continue reading our blog for more helpful tips on becoming foster parents!