If you’re wondering if you should be foster parents – like we are! – check out these tips for infertile couples. They may help you decide if being foster parents is right for you; they’re from the “coping with infertility” perspective.
Here’s what one foster dad says:
“For us, being a foster parent has been a huge strength,” says Roger Thompson. “Perhaps because it was something that we both wanted to do, we found it gave us common purpose. It gave us something new to share, and it was something that we both enjoyed, so it was great fun.”
Deciding if you should become foster parents isn’t easy! My husband and I have been talking about it for many moons, and reading books like Success as a Foster Parent: Everything You Need to Know About Foster Care. The time has come to take the next step in our journey of becoming foster parents – and here are the factors we’ve been chewing on…
Should We Be Foster Parents? Tips for Infertile Couples
1. Make sure you’re on the same page as a couple. I’ve always wanted to become a foster parent because I spent some of my childhood in foster homes. My foster parents were fantastic, and I’d love to give other foster kids the same experience! But my husband was reluctant – the thought of loving and losing foster kids was tough for him. But, after four years of coping with infertility, we’ve both decided to pursue the next step. We haven’t fully committed to being foster parents yet, but we’re going to the next foster parents information session!
2. Discuss how you’ll handle the possibility of getting pregnant. We’re without a doubt an “infertile couple”, so this isn’t a consideration for us. But, if you’re coping with unexplained infertility, you need to be open to the possibility you could get pregnant. Will this affect your decision to be foster parents? Would you want to be foster parents even if you had your own biological children? You don’t necessarily need to answer this questions right now…just talk them over. Infertile couples aren’t necessarily childless or childfree forever!
3. Talk to other foster parents. We haven’t done this yet, but I think it’s one of the best tips I can give couples who wonder if they should be foster parents! Find foster parents (infertile couples would be ideal), and ask if you can visit them. Talk to them about the benefits and drawbacks of being foster parents. Ask them to be as honest as possible – but remember that their experience may not be yours! It’s good to get information about fostering children…but it’s also important to remember that your experience as foster parents may be much different.
4. Become aware of different types of foster parents. I’m intrigued by the idea of becoming a respite foster parent! Respite foster parents take foster children for a short period of time, to give the children’s foster parents a break. There are also restricted foster parents, who only take children they know or who are related to their family. Regular foster parents care for children of all ages and needs – but they can specify whether they’re able to take special needs kids.
5. Contact Social Services or a local foster parent organization. Even if you’re still wondering if you should be a foster parent, contact the foster parents organization in your area. You don’t have to commit, but you might find that an orientation or foster parents information session will help you decide what to do! Talk to the social worker or resource worker. Read books about being a foster parents.
6. And above all, follow your heart. Maybe you and your spouse are an infertile couple for a reason. Maybe my husband and I are an infertile couple because we’re meant to become foster parents, to give foster kids hope, happiness, and the freedom to dream of a bigger, better life. If your heart keeps nudging you in the foster family direction, don’t ignore it. Follow it one step at a time — and move beyond just coping with childlessness to making a difference in someone else’s life!