As a foster parent, you’ll be invited to attend a number of social activities from foster parent support groups to court dates. If you have several foster children, there will be an endless supply of social activities that will give you the opportunity to talk with other foster parents, other foster care team members, and other people who are a part of your foster child’s life. The social component that is built into foster parenting is a big draw to a lot of foster parents because each child is surrounded by people who will become a part of your life in both big and small ways. Some of these people may come to seem like members of your family over time.
The social aspect of foster parenting is one that you’ll need to embrace in order to be successful as a foster parent. When you add a new foster child to your family, you’re adding a whole new community to your family at the same time. There are birth parents and therapists, extended biological family members, teachers, friends, and a whole host of other people who have had prior involvement with your child or involvement resulting from the child’s current situation. You never really know who you’re going to meet or get to know as a result of a new foster child placement and this is one of the exciting aspects of foster parenting that many people really enjoy.
When you sign up as a foster parent, however, many of the social activities you once enjoyed may not be as easy to partake in because of other, new time commitments, or just because foster kids’ behaviors make it difficult to do things like go to a fancy restaurant or make it through a whole movie. As long as you’re ready to trade movies for foster parent support group meetings, you’ll be okay. Embrace these changes. It can be fun! Foster parenting support groups give you the opportunity to meet other people who have very similar interests but typically very different stories to tell which keeps things interesting. Many foster parents make lifelong friends and create little networks of support through their foster parenting endeavors. This community-type feeling is really important and motivating to a lot of foster parents who thoroughly enjoy family and community to begin with.
Though you may initially feel couped up at home when you first start foster parenting, reach out to the people around you and enjoy the social activities that are inherently a part of foster parenting. It will help keep you balanced and make the load lighter for everyone. Socializing can definitely help alleviate stress and give you perspective on problems that are happening with your foster child or even just in your everyday life. In fact, socializing is one of the most positive ways to alleviate stress in families. Though foster parent support group meetings can be educational and provide you with a formal kind of support that you won’t find elsewhere, just mingling with other foster parents can definitely help you feel good about what you’re doing and give you something to look forward to from week to week. Embrace the social activities and enjoy them. They’re one of the perks of foster parenting!