(Today’s post is a guest post by Rachael Walker, read more about her at the end of this excellent post!)
My husband and I had always wanted a big family. We’d both grown up as only children, and wanted our kids to have that unbreakable sibling bond. After the birth of our son, we couldn’t wait to grow our family.
But we took an unusual route.
Rather than having more children of our own, we decided we wanted to foster. Not only did we want our son to have siblings and grow our family; we also wanted to give troubled children the kind of childhood everyone deserves.
If you love kids and want to take a new direction in life, fostering teenagers could be the change – and challenge you’re looking for:
1. You can make a difference
One of the reasons we went into fostering children, was to make a difference. By fostering teenagers, the difference you can make is truly incredible. I have spoken to carers of teens who have been really troublesome and always trying to challenge authority. But after a few weeks in the care of a loving family though, these teenagers really began to change and turn into wonderful children.
While fostering teens can be difficult, it is a great direction you can take if you really want to change the life of a child heading down the wrong path. Becoming a foster carer is really easy; you can see the basic requirements here.
2. Adult conversations, childlike affection
Despite the ‘troublesome teen’ label, in my experience these young people are the dream foster child for parents of any age. Sure they stay out late and push the boundaries; but we all behaved like that at one stage or another! Fostering a teenager gives you the chance to have grown up conversations with them; this is mutually beneficial as it helps them feel at home.
More than this though, you still get real affection from a fostered teen. They can see the positive impact you’re having on their life, and are always thankful (even if they don’t explicitly tell you). This can have a great impact on your own children and home life, as it helps give each child a sense of independence and belonging.
3. Skip the baby stage!
For older couples who love children, the idea of fostering a baby or toddler often fills them with dread. The idea of changing nappies, doing the school run, and constantly cleaning up after them is a stage they would rather forget.
But with fostering a teenager or older child, you can skip this stage altogether. You still get all the benefits of fostering – helping a young person and taking a new direction with your own life – but without having to worry about young children.
With a shortage of carers looking to foster teens, this really could be the change you and your family have been looking for. Fostering has completely transformed my life, and taken my family in a completely new and unexpected direction.
If you’re prepared for the bumps along the road, you should definitely think about buckling up.
Rachael Walker is a full time mother and foster carer, documenting the ups and downs of her family life on her blog. When she’s not blogging, she enjoys crafts, gardening and baking. You can find out more about the Walker family on Rachael’sblog: http://rachaelwriting.blogspot.co.uk/.