Over the years I have had people begin conversations with me that go like this…
“I will become a foster parent when my kids are older.”
“I always wanted to foster but my partner doesn’t want to.”
“I would like to be a foster parent, but I’m single so I can’t.”
We will talk about all of these statements over the next few days but today I have asked a friend to share her story of becoming a foster carer while she is single.
Each person’s experience in fostering is unique. How you make it work really comes down to a mixture of how much you want to make it work and what support you have around you. Agencies and Departments across Australia do not limit those who foster to those in a relationship. While there are certainly benefits of sharing the load of parenting, it can be done on your own – and alongside a strong supportive community.
Thank you friend for sharing your story.
Can you share what made you consider becoming a foster parent and what the process was like for you?
I always loved kids and had a lot of time for them. I had a family friend that was a foster carer, I guess that’s what gave me the idea. The process was quite simple for me as I was the only one to make decisions and had no children to mix in to the consideration either.
Did you have support from family and friends? Has that support changed since becoming a foster carer?
Yes some of my close friends were great supports my family were a bit apprehensive but supportive. The support definitely changed for me as I went from being childless to being a parent. Also fostering is quite a huge and emotional journey and at times I feel some people close to me will distance themselves, I don’t hold it against them though this is a wild ride and not everyone is built for it. I do believe I have stronger friendships now then before fostering.
What type of foster care did you start doing and what do you do now?
I started out as a respite and emergency carer for a few years. I had a lot of regular respite kids which was amazing to be apart of their life for more than just a few days. That thrown in with emergency I was having different kids almost every weekend. Now I have become a long term carer which is amazing but I’m so glad I grew my knowledge through respite and emergency care first.
How has fostering impacted your life, including your love life?
Haha I didn’t have much of a love life prior to fostering so can’t say that it has had an impact there . It has completely changed my life but when I think about it as a whole it only feels positive and I can’t even image having not met all the beautiful little people that I have.
Do you feel like you are treated differently as a single foster carer then other carers?
Yes ,absolutely. People always underestimate me because they couldn’t imagine doing it on their own. I have been taken out of consideration for a child because the other people had a family and I didn’t.
What precautions do you put in place in your home to protect yourself from allegations because you are home on your own?
This has been something that I struggled with for a while and a big part of the reason I have only had younger children live with me. It’s tough to find the right balance of bringing policy and procedure into your personal life. I always practice protective behaviours and am very upfront with DCP/agency. Always documenting anything of concern in emails.
What advice would you give to others considering becoming a single foster carer?
Absolutely do it. It’s very manageable. Don’t let anyone hold you back because you are single, it only takes one person to change a child’s life.
What message do you want children leaving your home to know?
I just want them to know they are always welcome here and they were cherished for however long it was that they were here.
If you would like more information about becoming a Foster carer visit Fosternow for more information or your State’s Child Protection Steps to becoming a foster carer page