Foster care and single

Hello everyone! This is the first time I have posted here, although I have been reading the forums for a while now.

I am a 34 year old single woman who is in the process of getting licensed to provide foster care. I work full-time as a teacher. I spend a lot of time with children as I have nieces and nephews (that are grown) and most of my friends have young children. I am excited about this and nervous.

I would prefer to be married and have children of my own and provide foster care. But I am also tired of waiting for a man to change my life. I have not had any luck in the dating world and haven’t even had a serious boyfriend in many years.

Does anyone have any advice for me?

We do foster care and also have our own tribe, so I don’t know how much this will help, but-be sure to utilize any support groups available in your area. Those sponsored by your agency are great for networking for respite purposes, even if only for Doctor appts.
If you have specific ?s, don’t be afriad to ask. I foster primarily newborn-5 year olds, but our kids go from 2-28yr (the 2yr old is a recent adoptee) - so I have lots of experience as we are a blended family that went thru lots of therapy when we 1st came together.

Maybe this is an odd question, but have you discovered that God is calling you to be a foster parent? Are you becoming a foster parent to realize your personal ministry?

Or are you doing this because you’re single and childless?

Maybe the way that you will approach foster parenting depends on why you decided to foster parent in the first place.

I used to take teens, mostly girls. I don’t like the laws in my state so since I moved here, I don’t do foster care. The advice I can give you… verify everything. Some of these kids are pros at manipulating and making you feel sorry for their wretched lives. Work with the case workers and counselors… but don’t necessarily believe everything they tell you either. When the case workers asked to take in a new kid I always asked if they had a diagnosis. Some of the agencies lied and always said no, some would tell the truth. It makes a difference in how you discipline the kid if you know they have a personality disorder. I had a kid attempt suicide that probably would never gotten suicidal if the case worker hadn’t lied and said there was no diagnosis. I pushed her about her behavior and I would have never confronted if I knew she had a personality disorder.

Here are some things that work well with teens:

Teens are pretty receptive to behavior contracts.
Let the kids help you set up consequences for rule breaking.
Always get phone #'s of friends and their parents.
Give them an allowance, but make them do chores for it.
Include them in household activities like grocery shopping and cooking.
Be prepared to get kids that are trying to get pregnant…:o
Remember your job is to help them return to their family if possible.
These kids are not your friends… they are your kids.

I do feel as if this may be a calling from God. It has been something I have thought about doing for many years. But when I thought about it I always thought it would be something I would do when I am married and have a family of my own. I took a Theology of the Body last Spring and the instructor said something that stuck with me about sometimes singles have more time to reach out to others than those that are married with kids may have. She also said something else about not waiting to start living.
I don’t think I will know if this is truly a calling until I have a child placed with me.

I am being licensed for children ages 3 - 7. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with teens at this point.

I think what you are doing is splendid - there is such a need.
Does your state have a foster parent training class? Ours lasted several weeks and was very helpful. There should be seminars also from time to time; you might find those useful.

Make sure you have a good support system. For your own emotional stability as well as for possible concrete problems, for example if you needed an overnight stay at the hospital and needed someone to watch the child.

Do you have something like Treehouse in your area? It’s a warehouse that supplies foster children with donated clothes, and often things like financial support for music lessons, sports fees, overnight camps.

There should be a foster parent support group in your area. I found that extremely helpful. Other parents can tell you things that social workers might not mention, such as that respite care is available.
Please let us know how it goes. We got our first referral 6 weeks after we were licensed.

This was my motto when I began the process:
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it now. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe.

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