Fostering is a fantastic thing to do. Not only will you help the children that are placed with you to feel safe and loved, but you’ll also get a great sense of fulfilment and pleasure. Fostering can be as good for you, and the other members of your household, as it can be for the children that are placed with you. But, before you welcome your first foster child, it’s normal to feel anxious. Most experienced foster carers still feel a little anxious before a new child arrives. Here are some tips to help you beat that anxiety.
Understand Your Feelings
To cope with any kind of anxiety, it’s important to take the time to understand what exactly you are worried about.
As a new foster carer, you might have spent months, if not years, going through application processes and interviews. You might have spent time preparing your home, stocking up on supplies and getting excited about welcoming a child into your family. And then very suddenly it’s happening for real. This can be very overwhelming, and it’s common to panic when something you’ve wanted for so long finally happens.
You might also be worried about bonding with a child, what they’ll be like, how you’ll manage when it comes to time, or money, and how your family will adjust. All of these worries are perfectly normal, and you can get plenty of advice from agencies like Fostering People.
Know That Anxiety Means You Care
Feeling anxious is a sure sign that you care about your family and the children that you are going to be looking after. Worrying means that you want to do a good job and prepare as best as you can. Be grateful for your anxiety.
Knowing that you’ve done everything that you can to prepare will help to ease your worries. There will be some things that you can’t prepare for until you meet the child who will be coming to live with you. But you can prepare their room, create a budget, childproof your home, plan some days out and talk to your family. You could even build a first night box and prepare some activities to do at home to help them to settle.
As parents, whether biological or foster, we often make the mistake of thinking that we need to give our children the biggest toys, the best holidays and the most stuff for them to be happy and to have a positive childhood. But what most children need is time, attention, and love.
This is especially true of foster children. You don’t know what a new placement will have been through, and you may never know all of it. But one thing that all foster children need more than anything is safety and security. They need you to be reliable, to be there when you say you will, to keep your promises, and to be someone to talk to and confide in.
Appreciate the importance of being a reliable parent, and worry less about the bigger things, and you’ll feel much better.
It’s normal, and even good, to feel anxious before a new placement, whether it’s your first, or your twentieth. Understanding why you are worried and knowing you have done and will do your best can ease your fears.