Becoming a foster parent is not something that any family enters into lightly. After all, you might already feel pretty overwhelmed with your own kids, let alone taking on someone else's. But fostering is about way more than just taking care of a child in need -- it might have some hidden benefits for your own family. Consider the pros with the cons before you make the leap from regular family to foster parent extraordinaire.
Foster parents can't just be any Joe -- or Jane -- Schmoe off of the street. They undergo vetting processes to ensure they're suitable foster parents. After that, foster parents are often encouraged or required to attend educational courses on parenting and foster care in general. These courses are offered free of charge to those who qualify, and they can help you not only parent more efficiently, but understand the culture of fostering and the children within the foster care system.
It's no secret that becoming a foster parent is not for the weak of heart. But for every hard day comes the satisfaction of knowing that you're making a serious difference in a child's life. The emotional benefit that knowledge offers you is immeasurable, even if it seems like a challenge from time to time. Fostering means you're able to extend the care and love you have for your own kids to someone else's child who may not have been well cared for. Bring on the warm fuzzies!
No one becomes a foster parent to get rich, but there are a few financial perks to allowing a foster child to spend time in your home. States offer stipends each month to help finance the care of the foster child, and you may also receive money for holidays, schooling and clothes as well as other activities. While this definitely shouldn't be your main reason to become a foster parent, it can sweeten the deal and lessen the burden a bit.
Becoming a foster family gives you the opportunity to bond with your spouse and children over a shared goal and experience. You'll all have to make the commitment to become a foster family, and working together to help a child could help you bond as a family unit. Of course, you'll also have the opportunity to bond with a child in your home, which could result in lifelong relationships with special people in your life through the foster care system.