If you’re thinking about whether to foster a child or have one of your own, there are many considerations that you should think about before going down either path. Either of these choices will bring on significant changes in your life, and will be a huge commitment. Make sure that you’re ready for the change and everything that it entails by thinking realistically about both of these possibilities. Choosing between fostering and having your own child is a very personal decision, and only you can decide what is right for your family. Fostering has many benefits, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.
Fostering a child takes huge amounts of generosity and patience. In many cases, children taken in by foster parents come from homes where they have been neglected or abused. While doing your part to help these children have a better life is very noble in its own right, this can present difficulties for foster parents. Very often the child is not happy or relieved about being relocated, and will lash out at his or her foster parents. You should know this before getting yourself into an unexpected situation–these children may have complicated issues that need to be sorted out, and this may be too much of a strain on you.
You should also be prepared to have social workers in your home fairly often if you decide to foster a child. These workers will often be stopping by to check on your foster child, make sure that everything is going smoothly, and keep you updated about progress on finding a permanent home for the child. This is another thing that many foster parents don’t understand right away. A fostering relationship is temporary. You and your family will become attached to this child, and vice-versa, and eventually you will have to say goodbye. Some parents have a problem dealing with this.
Having a child of your own is quite something else. This is your own flesh and blood, a new member of your family whom you will raise from birth to adulthood. The relationship you have with a foster child will never be quite the same as your relationships with your own children. Some parents maintain contact with their foster children later in life, and these connections are valuable in their own way, but a child of your own is altogether different. Consider your location as well–fostering in London may be different from America or other places in the world, so speak with local organizations to get all the details.
In the end, fostering is a great thing to do. You can help children through difficult transitional periods of their lives, acting as a parent to those who haven’t had enough love in their lives. Not everybody is cut out for that arrangement, however, and even those who find joy in fostering may still wish for their own children. Caring for your own child is a feeling incomparable to any in the world. Think about how this decision will affect your life, and decide what will be best for you and the children alike.