When many people think of being a foster or adoptive parent, they imagine a young child joining their family. But it’s important to know that this is not the only possible scenario.
There are many teens in need of foster and adoptive parents. Some are entering foster care for the first time as a teen. Some have been bouncing around the foster care system for years. Still, others may have been living in a group home. Most have endured many hardships and all of them need a stable, permanent family.
Fostering or adopting a teenager can be a good fit for you if are “so over” doing the baby/toddler thing. You know that your days of changing diapers, chasing toddlers and scheduling play dates are best left behind.
Parenting a teenager, whether as a foster parent, adoptive parent, or biological parent takes a lot of energy. But not the same kind of energy needed to care for very young children. A teenager may give you some sleepless nights but you won’t be doing midnight feedings, although you may have to prepare for late night raids on the refrigerator by starving adolescents.
It’s often said that you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect foster or adoptive parent. This is especially true for those who choose to bring older kids into their homes. If you were a less than perfect teenager and if you are someone who has learned from your own youthful mistakes, you may be especially well suited to foster or adopt a teenager. You can bring to the relationship an understanding of how difficult growing up can be.
Teenagers are interesting. Their questioning of rules can be tiresome but it is also a sign of their fresh perspective on life. While they bring with them many challenges they also can help the adults who care for them see the world a bit differently. If you are a person who likes a challenge and can stick by someone as they navigate the often bumpy road to maturity you might be well suited for fostering or adopting a teenager. And what an interesting ride you and your teen will have.