So you’ve completed the foster care process and you’re now waiting on your first foster placement. You may be feeling a mix of emotions, from excitement and anticipation to fear and anxiety. I remember feeling so frustrated knowing so many kids were in foster care yet we hadn't received a call immediately after being licensed (I knew then it was a bit of a selfish view since my concerns were about my timeline and my needs, but the feelings were still real). Whatever it is that you’re feeling, here are some tips to help you stay positive while you wait.
Continue Learning about Foster Care
While a lot of people think that once they become a licensed foster parent, their education is complete; that couldn’t be farther from the truth! There is always something new to learn when it comes to foster care and parenting in general. Continue reading books or articles written by experts in the field. Put together your first-week check-list. Create a loose plan for bonding. Taking the time to continue learning and planning will help prepare you for when your first foster placement arrives.
Learn More about Trauma-Informed Care and Trust-Based Relational Intervention
Fostering involves taking in children who have experienced trauma, which means that it is essential to have an understanding of trauma-informed care. While you wait for your first placement, take the time to familiarize yourself with what it means to be trauma-informed and ways to help kids who have experience trauma. One of the most well-respected support strategies for children who have experienced trauma is Trust Based Regional Intervention (TBRI). Seek out articles, watch documentaries or take classes related to trauma-informed parenting and TBRI so that when your foster child arrives, you are prepared with the necessary knowledge and skillset.
Stay Connected with the Foster Care Community
You’re not alone in this journey. Take the time to connect with other foster parents in your area. This can be done through online forums or even local meetups. Not only will connecting with other families help reduce feelings of loneliness during this time, but it will also give you an opportunity to gain insight from others who have gone through what you are about to experience.
Take Care of Yourself (and Your Family)
Waiting on a child can cause stress and anxiety, so it's important to take care of yourself during this period. Go enjoy walks in the park or get exercise in other ways. If you already have children in the home, do a favorite activity to keep everyone busy. If you're fostering with a spouse or partner, discuss your feelings with them (do not try to handle it on your own) and ask them to share their feelings about the upcoming changes. And as difficult as it may be, try to get rest! If needed, seek therapy to help you handle your anxiety and anticipation; a counselor can give you tools to cope with the stress (which will come in handy when your foster child arrives).
The waiting period before getting your first foster placement can feel like an eternity but following these simple steps can lead to a smoother transition into becoming a foster parent. From educating yourself on trauma-based behaviors to taking care of yourself, these tips will help ensure that once the day finally arrives, everything will go as smoothly as possible! Good luck!
I'm a foster mom, bio mom, working mom, special needs mom, busy mom. I'm also married to my high school sweetheart, I'm a proud 23-year childhood cancer survivor, and I'm passionate about serving my community.
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