The foster care journey is filled with unbelievable frustration and pain, but also much joy and optimism. It’s not for everyone, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but it is a journey that will teach you a lot about yourself and the many people you come into contact with.
In previous posts, I have blogged about the things you need to know before beginning the foster care process and even a message to case managers from foster parents. Both posts received thousands of hits in a very short period of time because foster care is a hot topic right now. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of families daily, that are considering this option.
And, it’s a great option! I really mean that. In-spite of the previous posts I’ve written that give advice or warning to potential foster parents, the foster care option has a lot of positive points. It has been a huge part of our life over the past 12 years. One thing’s for sure, it will stretch you in ways you never thought possible
Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about some of the reasons people should consider becoming foster parents. There are many more than this, I’m sure, but for now, here are 5 reasons why you should consider setting out on this journey:
1. The system needs good people.
I will be honest- I’ve heard a lot of bad foster care stories over the past decade. Everything from foster parents living in squaller, along with the children they foster, and taking the state’s check willingly each month, to children perishing because of the poor choices of their foster parent. The system is filled with folks who frankly shouldn’t be permitted to have children at all, let alone someone else’s child. Therefore, there is a need. The foster care system needs strong, reliable, good-hearted, responsible people to become foster parents.
2. The volume of children in need is not decreasing.
I saw a recent statistic that reported that nearly 800,000 children enter into foster care each year. If you break it down by day in a given year, thats almost 2200 children a day! That’s staggering. Obviously, there is a need and that need is not going away. As the volume of children entering the system increases so does the need for good people to rise up.
3. It’s an opportunity to meet diverse people.
Along with racial diversity, you’ll meet people of all different beliefs, values, parenting philosophy, religious backgrounds and cultures. One of the things I love most about the time we spent in the foster care system is that we grew an appreciation for all different types of people. We truly do not see color or ethnicity when we look at people. We just see…people!
4. It’s an opportunity to be light in someone’s darkness.
For many children who enter into foster care, their world is utter darkness. Everything from abuse, to drugs and violence, to witnessing crime in the home, it’s dark. You have the opportunity to shed some light by providing love, care, positive influence, healthy living, and much much more!
5. You can develop great support systems and sounding boards.
This is not necessarily the case for everyone, but it definitely was for us. Some of our best friends in the world (more like family) have been foster parents and have walked similar roads. You definitely learn what a great support system looks like. On some of our darkest days we have turned to our support system as a sounding board or a voice or reason. And, it has helped us navigate some sketchy waters.
I highly encourage anyone who is interested in foster care to do research, consult with other foster parents, and think strongly about it. Again, it’s not for the faint of heart, nor is it for cowards or anyone with a selfish attitude. But if you’re a person who feels called to pour into other’s lives, go on this journey! In-spite of the frustrations and sometimes difficult days, there will be rewards. We are living proof!
Question: Any foster parents out there? What are some other things you would add to this list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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