Common myths about foster care - Word&Way

Common myths about foster care

Myth: All foster children are emotionally disturbed and damaged beyond repair. There's nothing I can do to help them.

Fact: "We see miracles happen all the time with foster children, and that's because of the relationship they develop in the foster and adoptive homes they're placed in," said David Chandler, director of foster care for Buckner Children and Family Services in Dallas.

Myth: You have to be wealthy to be a foster parent, and you need to own a home.

Fact: Foster parents must be financially stable, but they do not have to be wealthy at all. Home ownership is not a requirement, although there are rules about how many children you can foster based on the number of bedrooms in your residence.

Myth: You have to be married to be a foster parent.

Fact: Single people can be foster parents, too.

Myth: Someone has to be at home with the kids during the day, so people with full-time jobs can't foster.

Fact: People work full-time when they have biological children, and it's no different with foster children. Your licensing agency can advise you on childcare options.

Myth: You have to have parenting experience to be a foster parent.

Fact: While helpful, parenting experience is not an absolute necessity. "People can be trained to care for children," Chandler said.

Myth: You don't have any control or choice in the types of children who get placed in your home, whether they are perfectly healthy or have a disability.

Fact: You have control over what children are placed in your home. However, the broader your parameters are, the more quickly you will receive a placement.

Myth: My children are grown and gone—I'm too old to be a foster parent.

Fact: The only age requirement is that foster parents must be 21 or older. Empty nesters often make great foster parents and find it a rewarding experience.

Myth: I can't be a foster parent because I would get too attached. It would be too hard to see them leave.

Fact: It's true—you will get attached, and it will be painful when children you love leave. But these children have suffered through things no child should ever face, and they need the love and care foster parents provide when they open their hearts and homes.

"When God calls you to do his work, he's going to make sure you're equipped to do it," said Samela Macon, foster care program director for Buckner Children and Family Services in Beaumont.