As I write this, my wife and I have 10 children in our home. Ten! Yes, we are NOT a group home. Sadly, in my area of the nation, there are far too few people willing to be foster parents, far too few who are willing to open up their homes and their families to children in need.
To be honest, there are times when my wife and I are tired, worn out, exhausted, and feel like we can’t go on any further. There have been those times when we have been burned out, and our family lives suffered. There have been those times when we have not cared for ourselves.
As a foster parent, you NEED to take care of yourself. You NEED to ensure that you are watching out after yourself, finding the time you need for you, and the help you need to care for not only the children in your home, but for yourself and your family. If you do not, all that you do will suffer.
As a foster parent, I have come to realize that I cannot do it by myself. If I am to succeed at caring for kids in need, if I am to be a healthy foster parent, providing a loving and happy home to children, then I need to recognize that I need to care for myself, as well. If not, if I do not take care of myself, my health, my family, my work, my relationships, and the children in my home will all suffer.
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Being a parent is tough. Being a foster parent is even tougher. There will be those days when you are worn out, run down, and exhausted. Yet, there will also be those days that are full of laughter, joy, and love. It is worth it! It is worth all the effort you are putting into it. In order to truly make a difference, and change the lives of children in need, you have to take care of yourself!
Protect yourself and family from false accusations. Keep written records, and document any and all concerns and problems. Ensure that all children are supervised and safe at all times. Be prepared for children that might be sexually active. Make sure you use discipline that works. Find support groups and resources. Do not be caught off guard if and when you suffer from exhaustion, burnout, or experience feelings of grief and loss. Quite simply, take care of yourself, so you can take care of children in need.
My friend, I am thankful for what you do each day. I am thankful that you are making sacrifices in your life in order to care for children in need, children in foster care. I am thankful that you have opened up your home and your family to children who need help, who need stability, and who need love. You are making a difference. Now, take care of yourself, as well!
For more, buy the Kindle eBook Foster Parenting 101:
Taking Care of You while Caring for Children in Foster Care. Click HERE.