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Hello! My name is Kristen, and I am going to be a first-time single mother and foster parent come this December. I am going through training right now, and am starting to get frazzled trying to prepare the house, learn the court system, fill out paperwork, etc... I was wondering if anyone had general tips for me as a single mother, foster parent, or first-time parent.

I am not new to childcare, or care for children with special needs, but am new to being a parent. Although I have experience with children birth-18, I am going to be fostering birth-2 and maybe eventually birth-5. (I am young, so I want to make sure my children are an age that does not resemble a younger sibling.)

Any tips? I feel like I'm swimming in paperwork and to-do items.
 

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I think aside from all the 'to do' items it would be really imporant to learn about trauma. Most foster parents are kind of blown away by the impact of trauma on children, and particularly so for young children. People think 'they are so young, they can't possibly even remember XYZ." It's not true, kids remember a remarkable amt of what they experience, they just can't put it into words. I am aware of very small children who witnessed physical violence between parents. They couldn't talk about it for 2 years until they got language but then described it in detail.

The main difference between being a parent of these children and a teacher is that they live with you and they will re-enact whatever their difficulty in mothering relationships is, with you. You will have feelings for these children, and they, you. That is a huge challenge, because most foster parents, single or partnered think 'I am doing so much for this child, why is s/he not feeling good about it.....I am loving him/her, why is s/he rejecting me?" Not to say that the child will do that, but the child could do that. The pattern of attachment that the child has lived with, s/he will bring to your home. It is amazing how many 18 mo or 2 yr olds I have met that already think they are supposed to meet their own needs or take care of themselves due to their parent's neglect.

It is amazing that you are doing this. Do it with eyes wide open about trauma. A great resource is Child Trauma Academy.org. Click on CTA Library. http://childtrauma.org/cta-library/
 

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I don't think you really can truly prepare for being a foster parent. Each situation is so unique depending the child(ren), the bio family, the case workers, the others involved (teachers, therapists, etc), your family life and friends, your outlook etc.

I do have a few tips though:
- always attend court if you can. You will learn far more about the situation at court than anywhere else.
- don't trust the case workers. Even the good ones lie or omit information. There are even good reasons to do so, like to protect the child's privacy etc. But they do not always tell you the truth. And they make very well break promises too.
- get some thick skin and prepare a few standard answers for common questions from well-meaning strangers. "Are they yours?" "Where's their mom? What happened to her?" etc etc.
 

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Let me first thank you for making this great decision to be a foster parent. An amazing journey you are about to experience.. You can never really plan for a foster child needs until you two are face to face.. I also fostered babies for many years (5years) until I adopted my daughter.. Before you get your first call create a check-list of questions to ask the worker before you say yes to that child... For example name,age, sex of child, reason for being in care, medical history, was or is he or she exposed to drugs, if so what type, any disabilities, status of birth parents and or relatives.... After asking those questions It is ok to say no if you feel that the child that they present to you will be too much to handle.. Be honest with yourself. Don't feel bad... You have that right....They will call you right back with another child... Some things you can prepare now like a crib and bed for a toddler..Books, small toys, bottles, milk, a few cans of baby food, a frozen meal or two... This is why.. A call can come anytime of day or night or early morning (like 1am) so to keep from having to do a late late night run before a child get to your home just get a few thing to get you thought the night... I don't want to ramble on so please I am hear for support and to support others in ther journey... You will find it to be hard work and maybe even a few sleepless nights but the reward is so amazing in the end...So again I thank you for joining us in helping to nurture our foster children...keep me posted on your journey and I am always here to answer any questions or concerns you may have...
 

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Hello! My name is Kristen, and I am going to be a first-time single mother and foster parent come this December. I am going through training right now, and am starting to get frazzled trying to prepare the house, learn the court system, fill out paperwork, etc... I was wondering if anyone had general tips for me as a single mother, foster parent, or first-time parent.

I am not new to childcare, or care for children with special needs, but am new to being a parent. Although I have experience with children birth-18, I am going to be fostering birth-2 and maybe eventually birth-5. (I am young, so I want to make sure my children are an age that does not resemble a younger sibling.)

Any tips? I feel like I'm swimming in paperwork and to-do items.

Hi, I am no expert when it comes to fostering, but I think that the support groups fromfoster care Englandbased agencies can expertly help you out. You can seek advice from experienced foster carers regarding how they manage their time and deal with other requirements. Hope this helps!
 

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I'd say be selective in your placement. It's okay to turn down placements that are outside of your comfort zone. They'll likely call you for things that don't quite fit your home. Stick to your guns and don't be afraid to say no.
 
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