These steps for being a foster parent may help you decide if this is a way to build your family! Here’s an interview with Laurie Tyrrell, who is a Foster Parent Liaison. She not only works with prospective foster and adoptive families, she’s also a foster parent herself.
To learn more about being a foster parent, read The Foster Parenting Toolbox by Lana Temple-Plotz, Michael Sterba, and Ted P. Stricklett. Edited by Kim Phagan-Hansel, the editor of Fostering Families Today Magazine, more than 100 contributors have helped weave a stunning tapestry of advice specifically for foster parents and the professionals and case workers who are on their foster child’s team.
And here’s a quote from a famous woman who was in foster care: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented, or even beautiful, but because I have never belonged to anything or anyone else,” said Marilyn Monroe.
Did you know that Monroe spent her first seven years in foster care? Maybe that’s why she felt like she never belonged to anything or anyone.
If you’re thinking of being foster parents, here are a few first steps…
5 Steps to Being a Foster Parent
1. Talk to spouse and kids in the home (you need their support).
2. Go online to either your county website or to an FFA (Foster Family Agency).
3. Attend the Orientation (get to know your county or FFA).
4. Begin PRIDE training (approx. 20 hours training).
5. Do paperwork, references, fingerprints, safe check your home etc.
Q & A With Foster Mom and Foster Parent Liaison
Here’s an interview with Laurie Tyrrell, who is a Foster Parent Liaison.
Laurie, how long have you been a foster parent?
I’ve been a foster parent since 1994, and have fostered 72 kids. I’m in contact periodically with about half of them. Some of the kids and families still come to my home to swim, BBQ & trick or treat. My husband and I knew we wanted to foster and after the birth of our 4th child decided it was time. We just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary last Saturday and I believe it brought our family closer because we shared ourselves, our home & our love.
How did your biological kids react to the foster kids?
Every time we were to bring a new child or children home, my kids and others were out cheering excitedly to greet the new child. My kids and the foster kids got along the same as bio kids do. Disagreements occurred but most of the time the kids loved having other kids around to play with.
How do you cope with fostering a child, then giving him or her up?
It’s always hard to see a child go home, but on the flip side, seeing their parents work hard to reunify with children is very gratifying.
Honestly there is a piece of me that always reminds myself that I have been given the privilege of helping this family reunify. It’s very hard when the child goes home and I don’t agree with the court’s decision. But, the majority of the time I rejoice in their family becoming whole again. I always provide each child with a Life Book before they leave. Their parents have our contact information, and we’ve even babysat for some.
If you’re not sure about fostering children, read Options for Women Who Can’t Get Pregnant.
What would surprise people to learn about being a foster parent?
People think that foster parents do it for the money. Did you know that it costs more to board a dog for a month than they pay to foster a child? I made .70 cents per hour 24/7. I am a county licensed home without an agency. Could you raise a 15 yr. old on $575.00 a month? No…this was a mission for me and my family. We wanted to help the kids and their families. Some people want to foster because they hope to have a family (some parents do not reunify, so the foster parent is asked to adopt)
What advice would you give couples coping with infertility about fostering or adoption?
I suggest that a couple going through fertility issues would need to be able to come to terms with the grief involved in accepting the fact of infertility. They would also want to remember that fostering is about the child – not the foster parent. Does that sound harsh? I don’t mean to sound that way, but if they can really want what is best for the child and accept whatever comes through fostering then they would be great candidates to foster. We have infertile couples that have suffered the loss of 2 and 3 foster children before they were able to adopt. Each time they seem near their breaking point, but then always seem to come back and do it again. They are so strong!
We are in the business of finding families for kids. Not finding kids for families. This means that it is all about the child. They are innocent victims in the life they are born to. I hope you understand my statement. Our families here in Placer County are the best there is. Our kids are truly blessed.
For more information, Thinking About Fostering Kids? Info From a Father of 12.
What do you think? If you can’t have kids of your own, would you consider adopting foster children?