Here, we are going to explore some of the best qualities that can be found mostly in successful foster parents. Most often, these are the characteristics that professionals look for when recruiting potential parents. Take some time to discover the qualities that you might already have and understand why they are essential. Then, try to strengthen or acquire the ones that you need to work on to help you in becoming a successful foster parent.
Capable of Finding Happiness in Every Step
Successful foster parents can easily find happiness with every effort that they make towards improvement. Instead of concentrating on their end goals and rebuilding their children, successful foster parents are aware that their role is to help these children obtain success in small steps, starting with everyday tasks. These parents are living in the present and help their children in achieving every measurable task. They avoid dwelling in the future or pressuring themselves or the children in achieving the desired outcome. Regardless of if it is a small success or a large one, they always celebrate it with their children and learn to appreciate the incremental effect of every effort.
Won’t Accept Rejection from Their Children
As successful foster parents, they always insist on their role as parents during rejection by their children. Most often, children having difficult pasts, especially teenagers and older children, have the tendency to push away the people who are trying to stay close to them. Successful parents consider this behavior as a survival strategy for preventing the adults from hurting, disappointing, or rejecting them.
However, successful parents are quite stubborn, and they do not accept that the result of this relationship will be rejection from their children. They are willing to put their own needs behind and delay the rewards of parenting for years, months, and weeks. They do not take the rejection from the children seriously and know that it is probably due to past traumas, fears, and disappointments of the children. They view themselves as therapeutic parents and are amenable to waiting and working on the rejection. They want to help the children heal, and gradually create a trusting, intimate relationship.
Can Tolerate Their Uncertainties
Even if they have strong negative feelings, successful parents can tolerate them. Some children from foster care have special needs, especially the older ones. When they go to their foster families with destructive behaviors, deep pain from their past, and many more, these children have the tendency to draw out strong powerful negative feelings on their foster parents. Sometimes it corresponds to what the children feel about themselves.
Successful parents can feel these adverse feelings, process them, and sort out the ones that come from the children. They avoid judging themselves sternly for feeling anger, for being capable of feeling anger, and not to immediately act upon it and understand their feelings will soon pass. These parents can also use humor in defusing their reactive emotions and can discuss their feelings with workers, therapists, or other parents.
Flexible in Maintaining a Parental Role
One of the factors that distinguish successful foster parents of older children is the capability of one parent to understand the indications if another parent is stressed out and start providing caregiving help while the burn-out parent is recovering. Well-established role adaptability can likely increase the chances of success since one partner is alleviated from absorbing all the emotional agony. Single parents don’t need to worry since they can still obtain the same outcome when they:
- Create a network of support by becoming a member of a foster parent group.
- Look for friends who are willing to listen and provide breaks from parenting obligations.
- Develop a working relationship with reprieve care providers who can provide them with proper parenting breaks.
Obtain a Systems Perspective of Their Family
Families that have the tendency to identify one individual as the problem or recognize the villain or the good guy in a particular situation will likely scapegoat family members. However, when parents consider the family as a system, with complex interrelated relationships among its members, they will make an in-depth investigation on the reasons behind this behavior, interaction with parents, sibling challenges, etc., and search for ways to enhance relationships. These parents are open to looking at how every member impacts the others and use their resources so that they can better cope with a newly fostered child.
Take Responsibility for their Parental Role
Successful parents can instantly make the transformation from a tentative parental view to total ownership of their role as parents and integrate the child’s history and differences into their family. Being a parent gives them comfort in overcoming any surprising irregularities or circumstances and they can take charge of the relationship.
Just like when parents of newborns start to act as parents then transition into parents, so do successful foster parents. When you take charge of your role as a parent, it is not dominance. Instead, it only means that you took the initiative in the relationship, providing the needs of the child, setting limitations and boundaries, nurturing, and developing the groundwork to build intimacy.
Persist on Establishing an Instant Relationship with the Child
Successful foster parents of older parents are aware that they only have limited time in turning things around for the child. This means that they do not hold back and wait until the relationship will start to develop. As effective parents, they are active and can do what new parents of infants do. They take control, disrupt behavior-spirals at the early stage, try to expect behaviors, reinforce positivity, and offer a great deal of praise, as well as physical affection.
They are not intimidated by the child’s withdrawal or protests and make sure that they take the lead in the relationship. Sometimes these parents may seem intrusive, but in a caring way. They are trying to make up for the lost time and want to develop contact and invade just like new parents of infants do by creating body and eye contact to build trust and intimacy.
Use Humor and Observe Self-Care
Parents who have a balanced lifestyle, include humor and self-care techniques into their daily lives. They can develop a healthy pattern and won’t accept martyrdom as the reward of parenting. Occasional weekends and typical evenings help parents in gaining a viewpoint, reorganize, and return to their families with renewed energy.
Prefer an Open Family System
Once families make the decision to adopt a child with special needs, they must be open to accepting help from different sources such as teachers, social workers, other parents, therapists, etc. These successful families must realize that obtaining help from people on the outside is considered an asset rather than a threat.
Pros and Cons of Foster Care Adoption
Whether you are a hopeful parent who wants to consider adoption or a current foster parent, it is important that you understand the pros and cons of adoption. This can help you in deciding whether this is the ideal way of growing your family.
Advantages of Foster Care Adoption
A lot of families have been established through foster care. For children, foster parents, and their relatives, the pros of foster care adoption are endless. Here are some of the reasons for considering adoption.
Provide Children with Permanent Home
Every child requires and deserves to have a permanent, stable home, and being able to open your doors to a child in need is one of the greatest gifts.
It Is Not Expensive
Most parents who want to expand their families are concerned that they cannot afford adoption. Although international and domestic infant adoption might be expensive, foster care adoption is quite affordable. In most cases, adoptive families might even be provided with a stipend by the state.
Foster Care Adoptions Are Stable
When it comes to domestic adoption, the birth mother is the one who will handle the adoption plan. She might change her mind any time prior to the completion of the adoption. This is also known as adoption disruption. When it comes to foster care adoption, the rights of the birth parents are eliminated before the child is even available for adoption. Since the parents won’t be able to change their minds, there are rare chances that foster care adoptions will be disrupted.
Waiting Time Is Shorter Than Other Types of Adoption
There are a lot of children waiting in foster care who are immediately available for adoption.
Disadvantages of Foster Care Adoption
Although foster care adoption might be the most satisfying way of creating your family, it is not designed for everyone. The pros of adopting from foster care must be scaled against the challenges of adopting a foster child. The following are some of the common drawbacks of foster care adoption:
Most Foster Children Are Confronted With Unique Challenges
For a lot of reasons, a few foster children are known to have special needs. Sometimes the child might be part of a sibling set or the child could be older. Or the child might be suffering from physical, mental, or developmental challenges. That is why prospective parents should be honest with themselves with regards to the extent of specific needs that they can support.
Only A Few Infants Are Available for Adoption in Foster Care
Since biological parents are provided with several attempts in working towards reunification prior to the termination of their parental rights, most children who are in foster care may not be available until they become older. If you are hoping to adopt an infant, then private domestic adoption might be the best option for you.
If you are planning to adopt a child, then Courage Community Foster Care can help you. For more information, you can call us at 719.321.4319 or send us an email at [email protected]