There are many harmful myths surrounding fostering, making it easy to underestimate how fostering gives your life meaning. In a recent survey conducted by Compass, we discovered that 20% of carers were motivated to foster because they wanted to do something important. Additionally, 34% also stated that their main reason to become a foster carer was because they wanted to help the children who needed it.
A common misconception about fostering is that many people decide to become foster carers to get money. However, just 4% of foster carers stated this as their motivation to start fostering, with the vast majority caring more about the difference they could make to a vulnerable child or young persons life.
Fostering can be a challenging journey for various reasons, but above all else, it is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. Many current and potential foster carers will find that fostering can give their lives a sense of purpose and fulfilment that they may not have felt otherwise.
Fostering saves lives
An obvious way that fostering gives your life meaning is that it gives you the opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact on another person’s life. For children who have experienced trauma and neglect, being placed in a supportive home can be life-changing.
As a foster carer, you have the chance to provide stability, care and support to a child who may have never experienced any of those things before. Seeing the positive changes in a child’s behaviour and well-being can be incredibly rewarding. Knowing that you helped play a part in that transformation can be deeply meaningful.
Our foster carer Hayley has previously stated: ‘I’m here for the kids at the end of the day, and try my best to give them a better life and understanding of the world’. At Compass, we are proud to say that all of our foster carers share the same dedication towards improving the outcomes for all of the children and young people in our care.
Fostering gives your life purpose
Not only does fostering save lives, but it can also give your own life a sense of purpose. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of work, chores and other obligations, feeling as though you aren’t making an active contribution to the world.
There may also be instances where your own children have grown up and moved out, which could leave you dealing with empty nest syndrome. As a result of this, you may find yourself struggling with grief, anxiety, distress and loss.
Fostering can help fight these negative thoughts by giving you a sense of purpose and direction that can be difficult to find once lost. Knowing that you are actively striving to make a difference, even if it is in just one child’s life, is incredibly empowering and rewarding.
Fostering gives you new skills
Fostering can help you develop new skills and strengths in life which you otherwise may not have gained. Foster parents need to have patience, compassion, and a willingness to adapt to new challenges.
Becoming a foster carer can be an opportunity to develop your communication skills, your problem-solving abilities, and your ability to be flexible and adaptable in the face of uncertainty. These skills can be valuable in many areas of life, helping you become a more capable and well-rounded person.
Fostering helps you to grow
Fostering is a deeply fulfilling and enriching experience for many. It can bring joy, laughter, and a sense of purpose into your life that can be difficult to find elsewhere. It can also provide opportunities for personal growth and self-reflection. You may find that during your fostering journey, you learn a lot about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.
Of course, fostering is not for everyone, and it is always important to think about whether it is the right journey for you and your family. Fostering can be demanding and challenging, so it requires significant commitment of time, energy, and resources. However, if you feel you’d make that commitment, fostering can be a truly transformative experience.
Fostering gives you a sense of community
If you’re considering becoming a foster carer, it’s important to have a great support network around you. Not only can it bring you closer to people you trust already have in your life, but you’ll also be opened up to an entire community of other foster carers and professionals who can aid you along your fostering journey.
Here at Compass, we provide our foster carers with 24/7 support and host regular support groups. Foster carers who attend these groups are able to share their thoughts, feelings and struggles with each other, building long-term supportive friendships with one another.
Fostering gives your life meaning in many ways. It allows you to transform a vulnerable child or young person’s life, provides a sense of purpose and direction, helps develop new skills and strengths, grow as an individual and build friendships. If you are considering fostering, take some time to reflect on what you hope to gain from the experience and what you can offer a child who needs support.