“If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.”
I don’t know where that saying originated. It’s commonly attributed as being “an African proverb,” which may well be true.
All I know is, whoever said it, it’s true.
Over the past four-plus years of foster parenting, if I have learned anything at all, I’ve learned this: your success as a foster parent will largely depend on the village of support around you. From friends and family to therapists, pediatricians and educators, the level to which you will not just survive as a foster parent but truly thrive in your role will be heavily influenced by those around you.
Unfortunately, another thing I learned is that, while some wonderful friends will step up and initiate involvement in your journey, most of the members of your “foster family village” will not just materialize out of thin air.
You will spend time on the phone, tracking down providers and making appointments and trying people out to see if they are a good fit for your particular child(ren). You will experience moments of discomfort, frustration and even embarrassment as you learn the ropes and figure things out.
If you are the preparation stages for foster parenting, there is some leg work you can be doing now to make things a bit easier when you get your first placement. In addition to getting your binder system in place and learning about your foster child’s age composite (which is vital for setting realistic expectations for your child), you can be making some calls and getting some ducks in a row.
Here is a series of videos I made a few years ago about this entitled “Building Your Foster Family Village.” I hope you find it helpful as you get ready for your first placement!