When most people hear the word ‘Foster Care’ they tend to immediately think of trouble-making children and tragic circumstances. Many foster agencies are in dire need of foster parents. Most people have negative feelings toward the foster care system because of the horror stories reported by the media that highlight the worst possible situations. Understandably, many are reluctant to join the ranks. Becoming a foster parent generally requires hours of hands-on training in subjects that can be upsetting. Often, making changes to your home and lifestyle to accommodate the requirements set by the state can be difficult, so why foster? Here are just a few reasons why more people should foster:
You are making a huge difference with children in your own community.
Anyone can send money every month or year to some charity to help orphans in another country. All it takes is a couple of minutes on the phone and your credit card and you’ll have a good feeling in your heart, a tax write-off, and maybe a free T-shirt or a letter from a child you’ve never met. That’s wonderful, but fostering is caring for children on a much deeper, personal level. Children in foster care are kids from your own community who are in situations so dangerous that they have had to be removed from their homes. As a foster parent, you are given the unique opportunity to be a safe haven for them. To help children heal and grow in a safe place. There is no better way to help your community than by helping to heal and protect the children that are already a part of it.
You learn valuable life skills.
The training to become a foster parent is generally focused and intense. Parenting, how to help someone affected by trauma, mental disorders, first aid, CPR, and even important aspects of the law are taught in these classes. Often times such skills are used not just while you are working with those in the Foster Care System, but in interactions with family members, co-workers and others in your daily life. This training is generally offered free of charge when similar classes cost tens or even hundreds of dollars somewhere else.
You may possibility to expand your family.
The number one goal of The Foster Care System is to reunite families; for children to return to safe homes, healthy parents, and become a family unit. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, such reunions are not always possible and children become eligible for adoption. Adoption through foster care comes with many advantages. Most state services including healthcare are retained post-adoption for the child’s use. Additionally, adoption through foster care is generally much more affordable than going through a private adoption agency, some states reimbursing and or waiving most of the fees for foster parents adopting foster children.
Caring for foster children is time-consuming and exhausting in many ways. These children have therapy, parental visits, doctor’s appointments, and occasional court hearings to attend. They’re involved in school and extracurricular activities as well. They need food, clothing, and shelter just like any other child. Foster parents are compensated financially to help ease the financial burden that suddenly having a child or more children in the home can entail. Though it should be noted that the compensation is meant to go into caring for the kids and should not be expected to be much.
Making lasting bonds and learning to love selflessly.
Being a foster parent is exceptionally difficult, particularly in the beginning when learning about yourself, the foster care system, and the new individual in your home all at once. There are some that avoid foster care out of a fear of falling in love with a child just to have them taken away again. However, loss is as constant in our lives as life is. When you lose someone we love, we don’t wish that we’d never known them and loved them, we are instead thankful for the time we had with them, even if it felt entirely too short. Fostering teaches you, above all else, to love unconditionally and that lasting bonds can be forged in a short amount of time. Children in foster care remember the foster parents who loved them, cared for them, and cherished them. Many keep up with their foster parents and remain in contact even into adulthood. We always remember the ones that truly loved us and foster children are no exception.
There are few callings as high or as sacred as caring for children. As a foster parent, you will be raising up, protecting, and teaching the next generation who will inherit and lead our world. Fostering is a wonderful opportunity to take up that call and extend a loving, helping hand in a child’s darkest hour. Foster parents step up and offer their hearts and homes in order to help mend broken families. To be a foster parent is an honor.