Foster care is true love.
It’s the real kind of love where you give everything you can for someone who may not have anything to offer in return. A brand of unconditional selfless love that costs you a lot.
For the last many years I’ve watched a couple of close family members, including my sister and brother-in-law, foster precious little lives.
During this time I’ve also heard many other people say, “Well, I just couldn’t foster because it would be too hard to give kids back.”
Well, I’ve watched, and it is too hard to give kids back. It’s way too painful, and sometimes it may even feel too unjust.
But I’m so thankful for imperfect humans with all kinds of challenges and issues, who in the middle of their own lives, invite children into their home for them to care for as stand-in parents even at great personal expense. Foster parents aren’t some kind of super humans. They are normal people facing normal life hardships, but they choose to foster anyway.
Currently I have a nephew who was fostered until he was adopted and two foster nephews whom my sister and brother-in-law have cared for since they were tiny newborns.
These little boys are each so precious and important. However, being stand-in parents isn’t easy. It’s hard to care for any child, but it can be extra challenging to love a child who may not grow up as yours forever. Plus, many foster children have experienced some level of trauma and that makes caring for them more difficult at times.
But if able adults don’t step up and love and care for these significant humans, what will happen to them? What happens to all of us when these children grow up and are part of our society?
I know we can’t all foster children all the time. My husband and I are yet to foster. But what if all of us who are able planned to foster at some point?
Even if we can’t foster currently, there are many ways all of us can help children and teens in the foster system and support the generous adults who are fostering them.
When a foster family needs a break, like a baby-sitter or a few days to rest and refresh or go on a vacation (foster children aren’t always allowed to travel to other places), they can’t allow foster children to be watched by just anyone. In turn, there is a great need for people to be certified so that they can give foster families breaks by watching their foster children. It’s a huge gift to these families AND THE FOSTER CHILDREN to be deeply loved and served by a safe, loving family.
You can get trained and certified so foster families can request your help. This is a huge way to support foster families and foster children without committing to being a long term care provider. This may also be a good way to get better acquainted with foster care.
Learn more at: https://www.boardofchildcare.org/services/treatment-foster-care/respite-care/.
Another way to support foster families is to help provide clothes and other baby/kid/teen supplies to “foster closets.” Sometimes foster families are given a child to foster on really short notice and need supplies immediately to care for the child. Or sometimes foster families have children a long time and the children in their care need bigger clothes or other items.
There are numerous supply facilities in our Fort Worth area alone. Some of the ones we are aware of are:
- Beautifully Blended Families
- Chosen Ones
- Heart for the Fatherless Foster Closet
- Unfolded FosterLove Boutique
These are great places to take baby/kid/teen clothes, toys or other items that are in great condition to help take stress off foster families and bless foster children.
If you personally know anyone fostering, you can also give them a gift card for any needs they may have come up or even just a gift card for a restaurant to bless them.
There is a new local nonprofit recently started by two local women called, The Adoptee Collective, which exists to facilitate individual healing for adoptees, kids in foster care or those who have “aged out” of the system never finding their forever family. Their website shares free resources on trauma, trust based relationships, etc. They also have a therapeutic workbook coming out in June.
For further information on foster care and adoption look for information on meetings here!
Maybe we can’t all be foster moms, but we can be foster aunts. Maybe we can’t foster full time right now, but we can offer respite for an evening or a weekend every once in a while for some foster parents. Maybe we can’t care for a foster children at this moment, but we can give our resources.
We can’t do everything, but we can all do something!