Whether you're seriously considering making the leap into foster parenting or just gathering preliminary information, we've interviewed a committed and awesome foster parent to get her take on what parents need to know
before they begin fostering.
Elizabeth Hammon and her husband, Chase, are remarkable parents. Since they started foster parenting at age 25, the couple has welcomed 13 children into their home. Some of the children stayed for a period of time prior to returning to their parents, and others were adopted by the Hammons. At age 30, Chase and Elizabeth are now the parents of five children, three of whom came to them through the foster care system. We spoke with Elizabeth about the foster care adventure, how she has kept her marriage strong, and what she would tell other couples who are considering foster care.
Although Elizabeth acknowledges that many foster children are waiting for homes, she stated that it's exceedingly important to make sure that spouses are on the same page prior to foster parenting. "If you are married, make sure both partners are in agreement about foster parenting prior to picking an agency and moving forward," Elizabeth cautioned. "If one partner is a 'green light' and the other is a 'red light,' just wait. We have seen strong marriages torn apart from partners not agreeing about foster parenting."
In addition to joint agreement and commitment from mom and dad, Elizabeth gave the following advice for parents preparing to begin the foster care adventure.
Elizabeth indicated that grief and loss are themes of foster care. "Our adopted kids, who came to us through the foster care system, have experienced a tremendous loss and wrestle with questions like, 'Why didn't my mom and dad love me enough to make better choices?'" She also stated that grief and loss are consistent themes within her marriage to Chase.
Elizabeth said that it's extremely important to be prepared for the inevitability of the following emotional challenges.
Finally, Elizabeth provided wisdom for foster parents at the beginning of their journey. She stated that social support — provided by a spouse or other caring family members or friends — is what keeps a foster family together in the midst of drastic changes. She recommended the following supports.
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