More than half of foster children in New Jersey are adopted into families whose head of household is a committed couple. For those couples, the decision to foster and potentially adopt a child depends upon a mutual understanding of the child’s new role in their relationship, as well as their new role in the child’s life. Here’s why couples should consider becoming foster parents together.
Why become foster parents? Be a role model.
As family leaders, couples have the opportunity to provide an example for their foster children. This example often becomes the template children use to create a vision for what adulthood has in store. For too many foster children, the template created by their biological parents paints an uninspiring picture. However, it’s never too late to instill hope in a child, and hope is all it takes to kick-start a promising future. By simply carrying out the duties of responsible parents and caring for one another, a couple can change the way a foster child thinks about herself, her relationships and her potential.
Why become foster parents? Two heads are better than one.
Aside from having an extra set of hands around when things go awry, there are many clear benefits that come with being part of a family led by a committed couple. Increasingly busy schedules mean that it’s tougher than ever for parents to spend one-on-one time with their children, but having two adults at home increases the likelihood that kids will receive the attention they deserve. Moreover, the fact that opposites attract could be a boon for foster children – they stand to benefit from their parents’ varied strengths, weaknesses, interests and points of view.
Why become foster parents? Take family life for a test drive.
While we often hear that having children is a superlative moment in a couple’s life, we hear much less about the fact that it is a superlative commitment. By both legal and moral standards, providing for a child presents an immense challenge. For those who would prefer to test the waters before diving in head first, foster care presents a pragmatic alternative to biological parenting, not to mention a shelter in the storm for a deserving foster child.
Why become foster parents? Strengthen the family unit.
Raising a child is no small challenge and as with any challenge, the possibility of failure never lurks too far around the corner. But rising to the occasion and overcoming challenges helps build character and confidence and allows couples to learn that cooperation is key when tackling shared issues. Sharing the experience of raising a child strengthens the bonds between couples, which in turn provides a stable relationship for a foster child to aspire to in the future.
Why become foster parents? Open your doors, your hearts and your minds.
What goes around comes around – you get what you give – treat people as you would have them treat you. No matter how you slice it, opening your doors to a foster child is a good deed that injects positivity into the world. As the pieces of wisdom above suggest, your good deed is a mere link in a boundless chain of positivity that is sure to be evident in the actions of your foster child.
There is no better way to ensure that your foster child perpetuates the chain of positivity than to open your hearts to her. It is completely necessary and only fair that everyone experience unconditional love – as foster parents, you may be your foster child’s only chance to enjoy that experience.
Opening your minds will help you understand and empathize with the struggles your foster child has faced in the past and how those struggles might impact her present and future situations. Practicing empathy, compassion and patience will also help your foster children open their hearts and minds to the possibility of a stable and emotionally fulfilling life built upon meaningful relationships like yours.
So why become foster parents? Why not?