I encounter foster parents quite a bit in my line of work. Of all the categories into which people can be sifted, I believe that foster providers have one of the bummest deals around.
I tend to approach them as fellow professionals, who are just doing a job like the rest of us. I am thus buying into one of the most common myths about foster care, which is that it’s something you do for money. In fact, pretty much any other pursuit, including selling lemonade and becoming a philosopher, is more profitable. Foster care is asking everything from a provider that one expects from a biological parent, only on time and with precise documentation.
Foster parents, I salute you.
Turns out, as I found on a little stroll through the search engines, there are quite a few myths about foster care out there. Some of them are probably preventing folks from becoming foster providers. That’s really too bad, ‘cuz we need ’em.
Here are some.
“MYTH: Most children in foster care are teenagers.
REALITY: The median age of children in foster care in the U.S. is eight. Almost 50% are over age 10, and an estimated 70% have siblings in foster care.”
Are older kids more “difficult?” Not necessarily. It means they are more likely to have had multiple foster placements and can sure use a stable home. There are a lot of resources and services available to assist when fostering older kids and teens. Plus, no diapers!
MYTH: I have to stay at home to be a foster parent.
Umm, this is the 21st Century. People work. A foster parent is a regular human, and parenting is hard no matter what. You are allowed to live your life and drive kids to as many sports practices as you want. You can also get a babysitter (Solo comes out May 25th!).
MYTH: Foster parents need to be parents themselves, and not too old.
You don’t need to have (or have had) biological children in order to be a foster parent. All you need is to want to parent. As a verb.
If you are in the least bit interested, there are a lot of resources out there. Here are some specific to Oregon. We have an overwhelming need in this state right now. You might find you’re more able, and ready, than you think.