Fostering children can be a confusing topic with many stereotypes and misconceptions. Across Australia, there are over 40,000 kids in foster care – it’s not as uncommon as you may think! Here are some common foster parenting myths debunked.
Isn’t fostering the same as adoption?
No, it isn’t. Adoption legally removes the rights and responsibilities from the child’s birth parent(s) and transfers them to the adoptive parent(s). Foster care on the other hand is not necessarily permanent, and is more often a temporary situation to care for a child before they can return home to their birth family or be adopted into an adoptive family.
You can’t be a foster parent if you’re single.
Whether you are single or not doesn’t matter. If you meet the requirements and you have the desire to care for a child who needs it, the option is open.
Same-sex couples can’t foster.
Not true. You can absolutely still foster a child if you’re in a same-sex relationship, and you shouldn’t feel excluded. There is no law in Australia that prohibits LGBT couples from becoming foster parents. As long as you are committed and meet the requirements to provide a secure, safe, loving environment for a child, you can make just as much of a difference in their life as a heterosexual couple.
You can’t be a foster parent if you work full-time.
Yes, you absolutely can! Think of the many parents out there who work full-time to support their families and still have time for their children. The exact same applies to foster parents.
Fostering children is expensive, you need to be wealthy.
You don’t need to be wealthy to become a foster parent at all. Most importantly, you need to have a secure home, be financially stable, and be willing to care for vulnerable children who need it.
You need to be under 50 to be a foster parent.
This is not true. Your kids can be grown up and out of the house and you can still sign up! While there is no ideal age to become a foster parent, you do need to make sure you’re capable and willing to care for a child.
With all that being said, why should I foster?
Simply because it changes the life of a child drastically for the better. A large number of foster children come from abusive lives due to no fault of their own. They may have never had somebody to help them with homework or host a birthday party for them, but you can be the one to open your hearts to these children and give them a second chance at a better, happier life. Sometimes, all a child needs is somebody to believe in them when no one else does, and it’s amazingly rewarding to watch these children grow and develop.
The idea of fostering a child may seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. Almost anybody can be a foster parent for short or long terms. You can do some research and find out how you can make a difference in a child’s life.