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The Top Benefits Realized by Children in Stable Foster Homes

When a child receives news that they are being welcomed into a safe and loving home with open arms, they are immediately filed with hope that their future will get better. Children in the foster care system have been tossed around, forgotten, and neglected by families, adults, communities, and the system. All they want is to be wanted.

By giving a child the chance to flourish and become the person they were always meant to be, the positive benefits of that occurrence are felt throughout the world. Here are some of the top benefits realized by children in stable foster homes:

  1. Mental Stability: It’s not easy being on your own at the age of 6. Many of us can hardly even imagine. That’s why, when these children are accepted into stable foster homes, their mental stability regulates, providing a healthy base upon which they can grow and develop for years to come. Although fostering can’t completely wipe away the sad memories, it can fill their lives with new ones.
  2. Education: Many abandoned children have never had access to proper education. In order for them to succeed once they reach the age of 18-years-old, they need basic education under their belt. Supportive foster homes provide these kids with a way to attend and complete schooling, helping them to feel almost “normal” again.
  3. Generational Changes: Instead of contributing to the system that put these kids where they are in the first place, by realizing the love and compassion of a foster home, they are now more likely to go out there and break the chain for the future. They understand what stability in the home looks like, and can work more diligently towards achieving that for themselves.
  4. Socialization: We may take socialization for granted, but during our formative childhood years, socialization is incredibly important. It’s when we learn customs, speaking norms, and how to interact with others. Many of these kids have never had proper socialization, and are unable to connect normally with others. Foster homes provide them with a community where they can talk, listen, cry, and laugh with other people who care about them.
  5. Trust: Naturally, children in foster care have a deep-rooted distrust when it comes to the adults of this world. Can you blame them? Distrust towards everyone around you translates into a lonely life, one without employment and comradery. Foster homes demonstrate that not everyone is to be distrusted. There is still good in the world, and you can find it when you least expect it.

TFI Family Connections

The next time you stop to think about becoming a foster parent, consider how beneficial the arrangement will be for the children you welcome into your home. To ensure the process is as smooth as possible for you, we work with you every step of the way, ensuring you are equipped physically and emotionally for the foster parent lifestyle.

Consider filling out an application today.

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5 Reasons You Should Become a Foster Parent in 2018

It’s hard to ignore the statistics today. There are thousands of American children in need of a safe and supportive home, and although you may consider the role of caretaker now and then, there are not enough foster care homes available to these children today. Some of biggest reasons why we’re afraid to make the foster care commitment is because we don’t know what to expect.

If you continue to push your inner desire and emotional calling to be a foster parent away week after week, we’re going to look at the top reasons why you should become a foster parent in 2018:

  1. The Numbers: On any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States. Looking at 2015 specifically, over 670,000 children spent time in the U.S. foster care system. If nothing else, the numbers don’t lie. There are thousands of children waiting to be welcomed into a warm house they can call home.
  2. Generational Shifts: Yes, the numbers may be overwhelming, but you have to consider the impact you are having on future generations. By taking a child in, you are changing the course of their life, showing them that they can reach for their dreams and do so with a loving base. Children in your home will learn what it takes for families to be stable, abuse-free, and safe, something they can transfer onto their children.
  3. A Universal Experience: The skills, emotional depth, and mental development that you will acquire as a foster parent can be applied to everything you do in life thereafter. Your newfound ability to humanize others, understand the story behind every face, and interact with diversity is just a few of the great lessons learned while foster parenting. You will see the bigger picture, and how everything falls into it.
  4. Changing the Norm: Far too many children grow up in a setting that doesn’t resemble a family. Residential facilities, group homes, and other housing options may cover the basic needs, but they don’t provide the critical family and communal emotional support that comes with a home. It’s this kind of interaction that children require to be stable and functioning adults when they mature.
  5. They Need You: It’s plain a simple: a displaced child with no home or family is in dire need of anyone that is willing to step up and care for them. At the end of the day, we’re social creatures, requiring communication, emotional support, and access to people that we feel care about us.

TFI Family Connections

Becoming a foster parent is a monumental decision, one that scares many able-bodied, experienced, and loving individuals away from saying yes. Here at TFI Family Connections, we work with you to ensure you are totally equipped and supported every single day, experiencing the foster parenting journey with right by your side. Consider filling out an application today.

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Why Right Now is the Time for You to Consider Becoming a Foster Parent

Thousands of children are bouncing around the American foster care system today, waiting to be adopted into a family they can call their own. With figures reporting that more than 428,000 children are available for adoption at any given time the United States, the number appears to be increasing since the turn of the century.

For many, the thought of becoming a foster parent has been there for years; however, the magnitude of the decision can deter applying to actually become a foster parent. Deciding to open your home up to a child in need is a life-changing decision, but we’re going to look at why right now is the time for you to seriously consider the new title of foster parent:

  1. You Care: If you’ve reached a point in your life where you want to help children, truly providing them with safety away from the abuse and neglect they have suffered, it’s time to consider the foster title. Foster parenting is a powerful way to lift up the heads of young children and youth, showing them that there is a new future on their horizon.
  2. You’re Mature: We all want to be kind and loving to kids, but what about making the tough calls to be firm when it’s required? If you’ve reached a point in your life when you’re able to distinguish between the appropriate times to be affectionate, and the appropriate times to discipline, you’re ready to be a foster parent.
  3. Experience: Although it’s not a requirement for foster parents to be biological parents to other children, if you fall into that category, then you already have the experience required to welcome another child into your home.
  4. Meaning: For those who haven’t raised their own children or were unable to for whatever reason, becoming a foster parent will provide your life with a depth and meaning it has been missing. Our services here support you and ensure you are covered with all information and resources required to be a stellar foster parent. Everyone has to start somewhere.
  5. Legacy: If you feel the desire to have a positive impact on somebody, changing the community and the world for the better, there’s no easier way to do it than by opening your home up to a child in need. Despite the challenges you’ve already faced in your own life, you can make a child’s life that much better by hugging them in your arms every single night.
  6. Challenge: For some of us, we respond well to challenges. If you want to challenge your preconceived notion of what you thought your life would be, fostering a child in need is a great way to do it.

Foster Care with TFI Family Connections

Here at TFI Family Connections, we understand the emotional, physical, and mental demands that come with being a foster parent, which is why we work to support you throughout the entire process. If you’re afraid of saying yes to your inner calling of being a foster parent, give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you today.

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Why Do Children End Up in the Foster Care System?

Throughout the United States, thousands of children, every single year, end up in the American foster care system. Although you may be aware of the dire need for parents, adults, and caretakers to step up and provide a safe and supportive environment for these displaced children, most people don’t like to think about the reasons why we need a foster care system in the first place.

It’s an unfortunate reality when a child ends up without parents, but thanks to our community, we are able to offer them something better for the future.

Here are the top reasons children end up in foster care:

  1. Neglect: Children can be neglected and mistreated in a variety of ways, leading to an un-safe home environment, both physically and mentally. Thankfully, we’re able to offer a neglect-free environment for these children that contributes to their maturity and wholesome development.
  2. Abandonment: In the worst circumstances, parents have been known to drop their kids at school, never to return again. They choose to leave their children alone for the rest of their lives. Battling their own hardships, raising children on top of everything can seem too daunting for some people to stomach. That’s where we come in. We show these children that abandonment does not have to be part of their future.
  3. Death: In the event that a single parent passes away, with no guardians or caretakers stepping up to the plate to care for the child, it can be a tough situation that leaves the child totally alone and without care. It’s not their fault that their guardian passed away, which is what we show and explain to them through our supportive services.

TFI Family Connections
Here at TFI Family Connections, we know how critical foster care and support services are for the thousands of displaced and neglected children in our country today. Foster parents provide these kids with a new start, a way to make loving and stable connections that instill trust and hope back into poor children that have been exposed to life’s hardships far too young.

We ask you to consider opening up your family, your life, and your home to a child in need through our services this year. Together, we can rise above the maltreatment and lack-of-love that these children are used to. We’re here to support you throughout the entire journey.

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The Top Misconceptions About Becoming a Foster Parent

When children are unable to grow up in a loving home, with their biological parents, in a safe and guarded community, unfortunate scenarios, situations, and misconceptions start to surface. Foster parenting is still wholly misunderstood by individuals today, leading to false information and myths about the process that can deter and misinform potentially interested parents.

Some things are certain: when children grow up without a safe and loving home, they may not be able to learn at the same rate as their classmates, process emotional difficulties, or maintain a physical health that is synonymous with happiness. However, that in no way should discourage any interested person from opening their home to foster and/or adoption.

Here are the top misconceptions about becoming a foster parent.

Myth #1: “I’m not married, so I can’t be a foster parent.” You can be single and still be a foster parent. You can be a homeowner or a renter as well. You just have to prove financially that you have an income that supports you aside from the money you are reimbursed for foster care.

Myth #2: “I’m too old to be a foster parent.” You can be a foster parent at any age. Many times, empty nesters are incredible foster parents, possessing the patience and knowledge to be a really supportive caretaker.

Myth #3: “Foster kids are too damaged.” Children are more resilient than adults, believe it or not. Your foster child may have endured atrocities, but foster parents can make a difference by providing a structured and nurturing environment. These kids deserve love and support to help them overcome their damaged pasts.

Myth #4: “I’ll be doing this with no help.” Wrong. Here at TFI Family Connections, our agency works with you 24-7 to provide a constant line of communication, resources, and training that ensures you are never alone and without education. We cover everything from workshops to at-home visits, acting as friends helping you throughout the fostering journey.

Myth #5: “I’m not wealthy enough to be a foster parent.” We provide reimbursements daily for your fostering environment. Additionally, you do not have to prove wealth to be accepted as a foster parent. You need to prove financial stability for yourself. Children don’t need rich homes to be happy – they just need loving parents.

Myth #6: “I’ll get too attached.” Yes, you will get attached. But these children have suffered in a way that is not fair or humane. The least you can do is supply them with a love they have yet to receive in their lifetime. You’ll be attached, but it will be a beautiful attachment that you can carry in your heart forever.

TFI Family Connections
Here at TFI Family Connections, we provide you with total communal support, ensuring that any questions or concerns are answered quickly and timely. Don’t worry about doing this alone – it takes a village, and we know that.

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5 Tips for Being a Stellar Foster Parent

You’ve made the decision to become a foster parent, and that is absolutely fantastic. Thousands of children in Oklahoma right now are in need of a foster home, and with only 2,000 being licensed and available at this time, there isn’t enough space for these deserving and beautiful kids.

If you’ve made the choice to be one of those foster parents, you probably have a lot of questions, concerns, and fears going into the process. You’re opening your home to children that are not biologically yours, and that can be an unknown feeling for you. However, we’re here to help prepare you and support you during every step of fostering and/or adoption.

Here are 5 tips for being a stellar foster parent:

  1. Set Up a Support Team: No, you can’t do this all by yourself. You want a support team that is there to help you when you feel exhausted or discouraged. Make sure you have at least 2-people who will answer the texts and calls when you are in need of support. It will help assuage your fears.
  2. Communication Skills: As a foster parent, you might have to communicate with the birth family, teachers, therapists, judges, other foster parents, and of course the child. Communication skills are everything. It’s worth researching how to better development your communication skills before becoming a foster parent.
  3. Understand the Challenges: This is not going to be easy. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be prepared for the full challenge that is foster parenting. These kids have been abused and neglected. Children will communicate to you through behaviors, which can be difficult and dangerous from time to time. Try and learn as much as you can about your children, as well as their preferred form of communication.
  4. Grief Management: It’s worth brushing up on grief management and bereavement counseling techniques before you work with a child that is no doubt grieving on a level you can’t even understand. Be kind and supportive of them, working hard to let them know their grief is accepted and totally understandable – for as long as they need to grieve.
  5. Collaborative Skills: This is not a one-man-show. You have to learn how to collaborative with a lot of people while fostering a child. As a foster parent, you might be asked to attend meetings with a group of people. You want to participate and get all information you can to stay on top of your game. If there’s other family in the child’s life that wants to still be part of it, learn how to collaborate with them in a way that is safe and loving for the child.

Being the Perfect Foster Parent
No one has perfected the art of foster parent today. However, here at TFI Family Connections, we provide you with the resources, education, and support you need to be as near close to perfect as possible. Don’t try and do this all by yourself; allow us and your support team to ensure the perfect parenting environment is established for these children.

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Becoming a Foster Parent: What You Can Expect

Foster parents are needed across the country and across the world today. Children are left in difficult situations, without families, supportive parents, and communities that ensure their safety and happiness moving forward. Thankfully, people exist in the world that are ready to open their homes to the foster children in need of love and encouragement during their upbringing.

If you’re one of these people, you are probably wondering what you can expect during the fostering journey. Here are some of the most rewarding and important elements to prepare for during your foster adoption:

  1. Attachment: You will become attached, incredibly quickly. If you think it’s possible to remain indifferent looking forward, think again. You will become attached, and that is not a bad thing. As humans, we’re programmed to feel connection to other humans, to children, and to animals. Let down your guard and allow yourself to love your foster children, even if they are to leave you in the future. The more love you can provide them, the better off they will be in the long run.
  2. Gossip Temptation: If a child ends up in foster care, that obviously means their parents or legal guardians weren’t able to answer the call. It’s tempting, as a foster parent, to want to bad mouth the people that hurt this poor child. However, nothing is more damaging for them than to see their new parents bad mouth their old parents. Children are incredibly malleable, so try and resist the urge to gossip about their past – even if the parents are certainly deserving of such language.
  3. Exhaustion: This one goes without saying – raising children is exhausting. It’s a 24-7 job, especially with children that are not your own. You need to learn about them, their customs, their habits, and their backgrounds. It will take time. These kids may have problems you have never even heard of – or they may face discrimination and bullying for their skin tone in a way you don’t know. Be receptive, and be prepared to be exhausted.
  4. Plan for Breaks: In addition to exhaustion, you need to accept that every so often, you need a break. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Have a support system in place, either with your sisters, brothers, babysitters, or parents, who will come in and watch the children for you when you need some time to recharge and refocus. It’s better for the kids in the long run if you know how to unplug now.

TFI Family Connections
Fostering, adopting, and parenting children is an incredibly rewarding, exhausting, and fulfilling experience. Here at TFI Family Connections, we understand this better than anyone, which is why we provide you with support, insight, and resources to be successful throughout the duration of the foster parenting journey. This is exactly what you can expect when you decide to make the fostering decision.

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How to Become a Foster Parent in 2018

Right now, there are many thousands of children placed into out of home care. Yet, there are vastly fewer potential homes registered, creating a massive gap that contributes to children being placed outside of their home communities in shelters. When this happens to them, they lose their friends, family, schools, teachers, and connection to their community – which is critical for children living in a fostering situation.

Foster parents are direly needed right now, for children of all ages, to provide safe, nurturing, and supporting environments.

If you’re considering becoming a foster parent this year, here are a few easy steps for kick-starting the process:

  1. Be Prepared for All Outcomes: The commitment to being a foster parent is a permanent one. You need to understand that in many cases, fostering is not temporary. Yes, you need to provide temporary care, love, and nurturing to the children in any timeframe, but you must also be prepared to serve as the legal guardian for the children while they immerse themselves in the community. You might even need to adopt the children in fully on their journey to achieve normalcy. Be sure you understand all the implications that come with signing up as a foster parent.
  2. Understand Kansas Foster Types: In addition to the different demands of a foster parent, it’s also important to know that the different states contain foster types such as: family foster parents, specialized foster care, treatment foster parents, intensive foster parents, adoption foster parents, kinship foster parents, or possibly others depending on your home state. Feel free to look at a few different classification differences for states like Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
  3. Complete Necessary Training: You need to commit to a certain amount of training before being regarded as a foster parent by many systems. For one example, the state of Kansas requires you complete 30 hours of TIPS-MAPP Training or 21 hours of TIPS-DT Training. Kansas also requires you to complete 3 hours of First Aid Training, as well as the Medication Administration and Universal precautions prior to licensure renewal each year. Lastly, you must complete a minimum of 8 hours of continuing in-service training per calendar year on subjects that promote their skills.
  4. Exhibit Unconditional Love: Before you make the final fostering step, you must reflect on the fact that you don’t have total control over which children at place within your home. You must be able to love unconditionally, no matter the child’s age, sex, ethnicity, debilitations, or personality types. Unconditional love is the most important thing for these children at this point in their lives.

TFI Family Connections, Inc.
Here at TFI Family Connections, we’re happy to support you and promote success between you and the children in your home. We provide regular contact, respite, ongoing training, support groups, assistance, home visits, team meetings, and more to make sure you are reimbursed, educated, and supported throughout your foster parenting journey.