The key to successful foster parenting is having foster parents who are realistically prepared for the journey. While no one has a perfect home, and no one needs to be a perfect parent, individuals interested in foster care should be in good shape mentally and emotionally. Other types of volunteer work require a few hours a day or a few days a week, whereas the constant service of foster caregiving rarely stops. Mental toughness is the basis to being a solid foster parent. By being proactive to our own needs, we keep ourselves strong, which allows our attention to shift to little ones with big needs.
The physical preparations of a home to provide foster care takes thought, time, and money. Over the years, we have learned to buy and keep equipment when we see it, then rotate the items in and out of storage to fit our current children's needs. Foster children have many conflicting feelings running through their minds when they come into foster care. In turn, we strive to have a calm and comfortable home ready to receive them. Their intake day (the day they come into the custody of the state) has likely been filled with stress, sadness, and frightening changes. By having our house physically ready ahead of time, we will have additional time to deal with those worries and concerns that first day.