Can you be a single foster parent?
Are you single and you feel like you are being called to be a foster parent? Have you just been asked to consider becoming a foster parent or a kinship placement option for a child who you already know?
There are many questions to answer, but watch the video below as we discuss a few things to think about as you consider becoming a single foster parent.
Should You Be A Single Foster Parent?
The big question you are probably thinking about is can you be a single kinship or foster parent. The answer is yes! Most states, including Colorado, will license a single foster parent.
A single foster parent has to go through the same process to get certified. You will have an application to turn into the county or agency that you are becoming certified with. Once you are approved, you will have background checks to do, training to complete and paperwork to turn in.
You will also complete a Home Study. In Colorado we use the SAFE Home Study method (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation.) and once all that is done, you will be certified and able to serve children in your home! (Check out the post “How To Become A Foster Parent” For more details on what the certification process can look like.)
There are a few additional things to consider when you are answering the question of should you be a single foster parent.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Do you want to do it? Is becoming a foster parent something that you have considered for a long time?
Are you passionate about becoming a foster or kinship parent? Is this something you feel called to do? Maybe you felt called as a child into foster care and adoption and you feel that now is the time to move forward into that passion and calling.
Are you being coerced into it? Is someone pressuring you? Maybe you are being told that you are the only kin or kin-like option for a child, but you don’t know if this is the right decision for you or your life right now. If this is the case, it probably isn’t the right time to consider being a foster parent.
Being a foster parent or kinship parent is not something to walk into without serious consideration for how your life will, and has to change.
Do you have the lifestyle to support being a single foster parent? What is your living arrangement and job situation? Do you have an extra bedroom and a lot of flexibility in your life? Do you have minimal extracurricular activities or, at very least, flexible extracurricular activities?
Do you have a support system already built and in place around you? Do you have a network of friends, family and a church group that is willing to wrap around you regularly?
What are your work arrangements? Do you have flexibility? This is a key factor in considering becoming a single foster parent. You will most likely need the ability to work from home at times and flex your hours around the needs of the child(ren) in your home. Additionally, a great benefit is adequate time off when needed.
Reality vs. Expectations
I want you to consider these things, not because I don’t believe you can succeed as a single foster parent, but because I want you to be prepared. When we are prepared, we can navigate the surprises and the twists and turns in the life of being a single foster parent a whole lot better than when we are walking into the unknown.
Being a single foster parent is possible, but it won’t necessarily be easy. To quote Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
You will be asked to do all the “normal” things involved in parenting a child, and on top of that, there will be doctor and therapy appointments, visitation with biological parents, visits from the caseworker, Guardian Ad Litem, your agency in your home, etc.
In a two-parent household these things can be a challenge, it can be even more difficult if you are doing it alone with little or no support.
It Is Possible To Succeed
We have seen single foster parents fail, but we have also seen a lot of amazing single individuals who have successfully become single foster parents and changed the lives of the children in their home. There is one key thing that makes the difference – support.
These success stories had family close by and an established church or friend group who was willing to step up to help with transportation needs, babysitting for a couple hours to give the parent a break, bringing a meal, running an errand, etc.
They were with the right agency or county who not only had regular support groups for their foster parents, but also licensed respite families available to help out in emergencies or times of extra overnight needs.
It was the passion and right motivation combined with a lot of support that made these single parents successful.
If you don’t have a support network built yet, it may be a good idea to take some time to develop and build that network before you get certified to be a foster parent.
A Decision To Be Made
If you have the right motivation, passion, a support system, and your life style is one with flexibility that makes sense for bringing a child into your home, then it is time to take the next steps towards becoming a foster parent!
I also want to give you permission to make the decision to not become a foster parent or kinship parent. Not everyone is called to do this, or, maybe you just aren’t called to do it right now.
There is no shame in making that decision, and I would argue that unless everything lines up just right, it might be the better decision to make. The last thing you would want to do is become yet another painful point in the life of a child.
It would be heartbreaking for you and the child if you move forward with becoming a foster or kinship parent and then the child(ren) have to be moved to another home because of logistics or any other reason.
Whether you make the decision to move forward, or you decide that now isn’t the right time, I hope this was helpful in making the right decision for you.