I am not sure anyone has ever asked us this, but the obvious reason is for the kids. There is a ridiculous amount of kids in the foster system, and you may think that you don’t know any kids in foster care, or any foster parents, but chances are pretty high that you do. You may just not know it. Growing up and even into my 30’s I had never known anyone to be a foster parent. A friend of my mom’s adopted 2 children, but the term foster parent, was not something I heard until a friend of mine talked about fostering. My first thought, how could you let them go? See “How to Guard Your Heart.”. As time went on and I went through a divorce and then remarriage, my husband and I wanted more kids, but we didn’t want to have them biologically, and we met a single foster mom at our church that was fostering a toddler, and God nudged. We listened and got licensed.
That really isn’t our why I suppose. Here are a few of our reasons why:
- Give children a family for however long that may be.
We have had 6 foster kiddos over the course of our first 4 years of being licensed. When we were fostering our 6th, an infant, we got calls for a sibling set of 3 and another sibling set of 2, but with an infant and 4 bios it was just too hard to take in additional kiddos so we declined. My point is, there are so many kids that need a family, temporary, emergency or permanent. There are way too many kids that are in homes with biological families or cared for by boyfriends or girlfriends, that just don’t care about these kids and hurt them (or worse) when they act like kids and when they get moved into a foster home, we wanted to give them a family for however long that may be.
- It changes the life of a child.
I haven’t had the chance yet to connect with our foster kids much further down the road but I know, and trust, that it changes the life of the kiddos forever. They learn to trust big people, and know they could count on adults, they can be kids and do kid things instead of taking care of their younger siblings or trying to find food in the house. They were part of the routine of our household, had bedtimes and regular snacks and meals, brush teeth and took baths. Had their hair cared for and were cheered for at basketball games and gymnastics and they were loved, so much.
- It changes those around you.
People in our circle have been very generous and caring. There are some that weren’t sure what to think about it, but it is a good chance to educate our friends and others around us. When we had African American, toddler sisters, this really gave us an opportunity to talk about fostering. We would have people stop us in the store and ask about fostering, and talk to the girls sweetly and I think just observe that these are lovely, normal toddlers, that just have been handed a life with bio parents that couldn’t take care of them. Of course with the good there was the bad, but I choose to think of those people as uneducated in caring for another person that is not a friend or relative, it definitely is a calling. A gift.
- You have the means to be able to share.
If you have an empty bedroom, you have space for a foster child or two. If you can provide for yourself you can provide for one more. I am not trying to guilt you into taking in a foster child, but you don’t need to have a lot of money to be able to foster. You could work full time and still foster, and you can have other biological kids and still foster. We are all of those things and have done it! The state will provide daycare for non-school age children and after school care for school age children, for full time working parents.
- You learn so much!
You learn a lot about trauma, our foster system, and about the impact on others and a community. Those are just a few, but mostly you learn how much love your heart really can hold and give. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of our past foster kids. I do have a photo of them in my hall that I see every day, and our current foster daughter and I tell them goodnight every night as we go up the stairs to bed. She will end up knowing their names and who they are and has met 3 out of the 5 already!
- It is the best job I have ever had.
I have to say fostering has been right in line with raising my biological kids. It is the most rewarding role I have ever had. I feel so blessed that God lead us into fostering and has been walking beside us the whole time. It is not easy, but similarly to parenting biological kiddos it is such a gift.
It really is a hard thing to try and explain, the way your heart grows and changes through foster parenting. I cannot ever imagine not doing it and yet, in my 20’s or even early 30’s I would have never imagined going down this path. I have to trust, that with God’s help, and my families support, we impacted the trajectory of these kids in a positive way. I know they have impacted us.