Myths vs. FactsThere’s a lot you need to know about being a foster or adoptive parent, and there are a lot of myths out there. Read on to separate the myths from the facts.
Myth: “I don’t have any children, and to be a foster parent you need parenting experience.”
Now who told you that? Many of our foster parents don’t have children of their own. You can become prepared to foster by coaching or mentoring kids. Maybe you’re a nurse or teacher—many occupations can prepare you to foster. All you need is a deep commitment and the willingness to learn how to be a parent.
Myth: “I could never be a foster parent because I’m not married and don’t make a lot of money. I don’t even own my own house.”
Take a deep breath and cut yourself a break. Your relationship status doesn’t matter, and you can be a homeowner or a renter. The only financial requirement is that you have enough of an income to support yourself and your family apart from the reimbursement you get to care for foster children.
Myth: “Foster parents have to stay at home with the children, and I work full time. I guess that excludes me.”
You guessed wrong. Many foster children attend school and/or day care while foster parents work outside the home. We do ask that foster parents work first shift so as to maintain a child’s natural schedule for sleeping, eating, playing, etc.
Myth: “My children are grown and out of the house. I’m too old to be a foster parent.”
You’re never too old to foster. Many “empty nesters” find foster parenting to be a rewarding experience.
Myth: “Foster children have been abused so much that they’re beyond repair. I wouldn’t really be making a difference, anyway.”
Children are extremely resilient! Additionally, foster parents can make a huge impact on children who have experienced trauma by providing a structured, supportive and nurturing environment. We need to remember that these children will grow up to be adults in our community. How we respond to their needs now will largely determine what kinds of citizens they will be in the future.
Myth: “Once I take in a foster child, I’m on my own without any help.”
No way! Children need stability, and SaintA has your back every step of the way. For starters, before you even take in your first child, you will receive training to prepare you and your family. There’ll be ongoing training and opportunities to network with other foster parents. Even when you need a break, we got you. That’s what’s respite care is for.
Myth: “I would have to provide medical insurance for a foster child in my home.”
Foster parents do not pay for any of a child’s medical expenses, other than over-the-counter medicines and supplies.
Myth: “Teenagers are more difficult to parent.”
Teenagers aren’t perfect, but who is? Teenagers desire someone who can provide a stable environment and who truly cares about their well-being and future. They need someone like you to be a positive role model. And, remember, we are here to help throughout your fostering experience.
Myth: “I will get too attached and will have my heart broken.”
Your heart will undoubtedly grow with love for each child you take into your home, but, always remember, you’re helping a child and family heal, grow and improve so they can become complete again. Even when that goal is achieved and a family reunifies, many foster children maintain some form of contact with their foster parents over time. Some foster families have reunions for the children they’ve cared for from year to year, while others remain in their foster child’s life as “auntie,” “grandma” or a trusted babysitter.
Myth: “Adopting a child from foster care is expensive.”
While private or international adoptions can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $30,000 (or more!), adopting children from foster care is virtually free. And a growing number of companies and government agencies offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefit packages–including time off for maternity/paternity leave, financial incentives and other benefits.
Did you know Congress has made federal tax credits available for foster care adoptions to help offset the required fees, court costs, legal and travel expenses? For more information, call 800-829-3676 or access IRS Form 8839 at www.irs.gov.