Vol. 15, No. 1 • November 2010

Life Changing New Year Resolutions Every Foster Parent Should Make

by Crystal Killion

Foster parenting is both a worthwhile endeavor and a tough job. Make some resolutions that will make it even more rewarding and life changing in the new year.

This is the time of year that many people begin to think about what they want to accomplish in the next year. Lose weight, stop smoking, spend more frugally. As important as these things are, foster parents have an amazing opportunity to influence others and to make a difference into the next generation and beyond. This year, make some resolutions for the new year that will change lives. In the coming year resolve to ….

Make a Lasting Bond
Make a lasting bond with your foster children. Bonding with these kids can be tough. The longer they have been in the system, the harder it will be to bond with them. It may be impossible. However, everyone benefits when you try. Spend time one-on-one, work together on their lifebook, make it a point to compliment them about something each day, never criticize their birth family, write a short note of encouragement to them or draw a simple picture for a young child. Small things add up to a lot for these children.

Advocate for them. As a foster parent, you are with them more than any other person in their life right now. Be their voice with their social workers, therapists, school personnel. Write a letter to the judge who oversees their case and give him or her a progress report.

Take Care of Yourself
Take time for you, your marriage, and your birth/adoptive children. Foster parenting is stressful and often thankless. Taking care of yourself and your family will help to prevent burn-out and, in the long run, help the foster children who come into your home, too.

Make time for self-improvement. Take a college class, learn how to do something you have always wanted to do but didn’t, read a novel, join a gym. Children learn by example and your enthusiasm for learning will be contagious.

Recruit New Foster Families
Recruit another family to become foster parents. According to Family to Family of Orange County California, in an article titled, Background: The Current Challenges of Public Child Welfare, they estimate that over 550,000 children are currently in the foster care system; however, at the same time, they say that only 50% of those children will be placed in foster families due to the low number of foster homes available. When you recruit other loving families for these children, you touch countless lives. Every child deserves a family.

Be a Mentor
Mentor a new foster parent. You were there once. You know that foster parenting can be a lonely road to travel. Make an effort to connect with another foster family to mentor and to listen.

Don’t Quit
Be committed as long as it takes. Foster children need somebody who won’t give up. Resolve to be that person for them.