In the summer of 2017 we began the process of becoming a licensed foster care family. We were excited to share the news with our family and friends. Following our announcement, the most common question asked of us was “why?” . Why would we open our safe and stable home to children who have been expose to they very things we protect our biological children from (neglect, physical and sexual abuse and more)? Deciding to become foster parents was a long process. We spent many date night conversations discussing the pros and cons. We also sat down for Q and As with families we already knew in foster care. Together we agreed foster care is a journey we wanted to begin. We came up with a list of our 5 largest deciding factors in say, yes. In addition, I hope this post encourages other families that are considering foster care.
First of all, the most obvious reason, we want to help children in need. According to the Children’s Rights website there are 428,000 children in the United States in foster care on any given day. In 2015 there were approximately 683,000 children were victims of maltreatment. 75% of these children suffered from neglect, 17% suffered from physical abuse, and 8% suffered sexual abuse.
Regardless of the child’s personal case, these children have been traumatized. These children need a safe, stable, and loving environment to help them get through what is hopefully the hardest time they will have to go through.
Another reason we have decided to become foster parents is to give back to our community. Duane, my husband works in law enforcement therefore he regularly sees the cases involving children in our community. Although I believe he tries to shelter me from as many of the heartbreaking stories as possible, I watch the news and stay aware of the happenings in our community.
Furthermore, we believe community is what you make it. As foster parents we hope to have a positive impact on the children involved as well as the children’s families.
To share our gifts
We believe that our lives have been truly blessed. Both of us are healthy, we have a beautiful home, and we are able to supply all of our needs and many of our wants. We try to show our appreciation to God for our blessings regularly. Sharing our blessings with children in foster care we believe we are doing God’s work. As a family we believe we are being called to foster care.
Positive Impact for Bios
As parents to a 12 year old girl, we try to parent by example. We use actions to show our daughter how to be a good person rather than only telling her how to do it. If we chose to only use our words when teaching Lia, most of what we say will be forgotten along the way. One parent challenges Duane and I struggle with is ‘how do you teach our child gratitude?’.
Through foster care we hope to teach our daughter not only to be grateful for the life she has been blessed with, but to instill a sense of empathy, compassion and service towards those children who are less fortunate. Let’s face it, the world we live in can be a cruel place. Deciding how much of that world we expose our own children to is often difficult. We hope that by showing Lia that not every child is nurtured, pampered, and well cared for that she can appreciate the gifts that she has and feel obliged to pay it forward.
Becoming a foster family is scary, there is a lot of unknowns. At this point for us in the foster family process we are not sure what happens next. We no clue what kind of placements we will get, the kind of trauma they have been through, how old they are, and even whether to buy barbies of super heroes for their bedroom. As I understand it foster care itself is a big waiting game. Being the type A, borderline control freak that I am, this is extremely hard to wrap my head around. There is thing that comforts us regardless of all unknowns. We are comforted by the thought, if the one thing we do in foster care is show a child that loving, stable families do exist, this adventure will be a success.