It seems to be a common rhetoric that foster parents need to wear capes and have hearts made of steel. Many foster parents often have to dig up a response to the comment “I could never do what you do, I would get too attached.” It’s as if others see foster parents as superheroes, but that simply isn’t true. Being a foster parent is amazing, fills a huge need and is not an easy feat, but foster parents wear jeans just like you.
Here is proof that foster parents don’t have to be made of steel:
As winter begins to melt away and spring breaks through, families start organizing summer activities. When creating summer plans, one thing families consider are the unique and beneficial experiences available through youth and family camps. There are many options specifically for children who have been adopted or are in foster care, as well as a wide variety of camps unique to various ethnicities and cultures. Since foster and adoptive parents are often busy and operating a day at a time, as a Support Team Member, your involvement in researching camps and possibly offering financial help could provide the opportunity to attend!
An often little-known fact about the foster care world is that you have the ability to say no to a placement. Many families feel pressure to accept the first call they get, but it’s important to learn as much information as possible about the child and spend a short time in prayer before deciding. Our team of family care managers put together a list of questions for you to ask before you give an answer.
Ask these 10 questions first when you get a call for placement:
If this information isn’t given to you right away start off with a few easy questions. What is his name, age and does he have any siblings. This will make the rest of the conversation more natural. This also gives you a framework for how he will fit into your existing family birth order (if applicable).
Janet Rowland is the Director for Project 1.27 in the Western Slope. She is also currently the Executive Director for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Mesa County. Previously, Janet worked for Mesa County Department of Human Services in the Child Welfare Division.
We know from our experiences with close friends and family that love takes work. As much as we wish life was a Hallmark movie, we experience loss, challenges, and pain that sometimes feels unresolved. However, as Christians, we are not given conditions of loving others. We forgive, we apologize, we give, and as much as it depends on us, try to be at peace with those around us (Romans 12:18). Our faith is expressed by love in action.
Dahlia and her two older siblings were the first children adopted into a Project 1.27 family. On her adoption date in November 2005, Dahlia was six years old. Now a young adult, Dahlia wants to use her story to encourage other kids in foster care as well as inspire churches and families to get involved.
Tell us a little of your story.
My two older siblings and I were placed in foster care when I was about 18 months. When I was six, we were adopted by a Project 1.27 family who already had two kids. As you might imagine, there were some struggles combining all us kids into one family, and during my teen years, things fell apart for awhile. But now, I’ve found a new kind of love for my parents and all my siblings. We get through the tough things as one family.
What are you up to these days?
I’m working at a law firm doing collections and coding. I’m working on a Personal Trainer Certificate and work out every day. I love to go on adventures, like open mic night at downtown restaurants and hanging out with my sister and girlfriends.
Why do you want to share your story?
I used to be so afraid of my story. I’d get upset when other people knew it. Now I want to share my story. I think it’s a little cooler than everyone else’s - a blessing in disguise. My story makes me who I am and provides a starting place for who I want to be.
I don’t want to be just a statistic. I want other kids in foster care to hear my story and know they can get through that successfully – mind, body, soul. I want little girls to look at me and say, “Whoa! She did it and I can, too!” I volunteer at a school and am thrilled I can be someone little girls can look up to. Being in foster care, being adopted, it can be tough.
What are your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions?
By the end of 2018 I want to start two small businesses, one as a personal trainer and the other as a health and wellness consultant. I want to celebrate my one-year anniversary at the law firm. Another goal is to rent to own a condo. And, go vegan! The biggest thing I’ve been learning is we don’t know our full potential unless we push ourselves. My goals have that purpose.
What are some New Year’s Resolutions you hope others will make?
For foster and adoptive families –
Because caring for vulnerable kids is in the Bible and we’re supposed to follow the Bible; to come together as a community and take care of children in need. If we don’t do this, we’re disobeying. Jesus loves little kids and we need to love like Jesus. Love kids.
How can we be praying for you and your family in 2018?
My biggest prayer is for everyone’s happiness and health. Please pray that my parents have a relaxing year. They are currently fostering five kids and could use it! Pray for protection over the kids they are currently fostering and my entire family. For me personally, pray I will grow in my relationship with God and that I won’t be distracted from reaching my goals. Thanks for praying for us!
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Jump in! Pray about ways you can love on kids and families in foster care. As Dahlia is learning, we don’t know our full potential until we push ourselves. Start by attending an info night. Register today >
When we begin the new year, we hope to make improvements and strides forward in the months to come. In the areas where we have seen challenges, we hope to grow. As evidence demonstrates, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) has brought about lasting and healing results for kids who’ve experienced trauma. In 2018, Project 1.27 will be offering caregiver training in this intervention to help encourage parents that they are not alone in their struggles, AND there is hope in building connection with children from hard places.
The Empowering Principle in TBRI attends to helping children experience felt safety by meeting physiological and environmental needs. We’ve all heard about eating frequent nutritious snacks and drinking plenty of water, but did you know that ensuring such a diet can reduce aggressive behaviors and emotional meltdowns? In addition to highlighting the importance of diet, the Empowering Principle also addresses the crucial roles of physical and sensory activities. Many children who’ve experienced abuse or neglect struggle with registering sensory information. Practicing different physical and sensory activities with children facilitates healing while also developing your relationship.
There is a wealth of interesting and practical information about how to care for kids who’ve experienced trauma. But you don’t have to take our word for it!
On December 11, Thrivent Financial sponsored the 2nd Annual Project 1.27 Family Christmas Party! Volunteers from Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church welcomed families while Project 1.27 staff enjoyed crafting, games and pizza with some really cute kids and their parents.
Another year has ended and another year begins bringing with it resolutions to be healthier, learn new hobbies and spend more time with family and friends. But in the standard list of resolutions there’s always one thing missing, a resolution to be better at caring for those in need. We know not everyone is called to be a foster or adoptive parent, but everyone is called to do something.
Here are 3 ways you can resolve to care for kids from foster care in the New Year:
There’s a saying that every child at risk is one caring adult away from being a success. That caring adult may be you, and no you don’t have to be a foster parent. We found a short list of ways you can get involved and spend time with kids. If there are foster or adoptive families in your life, talk to them about what they may need and step in to serve them.
The goal is for every kid in foster care to have a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) on their team. This volunteer position functions as a mentor who is trained to advocate for the child’s best interests in a court setting. Learn More >>
The Adoption Exchange
This program is targeted to kids 12 to 18 who are in foster care. The Adoption Exchange provides a structured process so you can build a permanent relationship overtime to help improve the outcome for a child. Learn More >>
Royal Family Kids Camp
These camps are hosted by churches all over the county, with several in Colorado. Find a church near you who hosts a camp and be a part of giving a child from foster care a week of childhood. Learn More >>
Every family who choose to bring in a child through foster or adoption will need support. Talk to your church to see if there are families within your congregation who need help. Or if you know a family see what you can do to help them. It may be as simple as making weekly meals!
There are countless organizations doing amazing work in Colorado to recruit, equip, train and support foster and adoptive families. Find an organization that speaks to your heart and commit to supporting them financially. Here are a few ideas:
We are a non-profit with a goal to recruit and train foster and adoptive families by partnering with the church. We need $3000 for each family. Your support helps give a kid a home!
An offshoot of Adopt Colorado Kids, Dream Makers provides financially for kids who have aged out of foster care and are working their way through adulthood. Consider sponsoring a dream or donating regularly.
As discussed above, CASA helps pair children with advocates so they have a voice. By donating to CASA you help to recruit and train these volunteers so every child feels cared for.
These are just a few simple ideas to help you find a way to get involved, but the opportunities are endless!
The holidays bring a season of gratitude. While being thankful for foster care isn’t always easy, being a part of this system brings so much goodness into our lives and it’s important to practice being grateful for it’s gifts.
James 1:2-3 reminds us to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” It can be hard when you’re in the thick of it to practice gratitude, so take this season as a time to be intentional and thankful.
Here are 5 reasons to be grateful for foster care:
Foster care allows for healing for many people. The first goal of foster care is reunification for parents and kids which requires healing. Parents need space and resources to heal and learn. Kids need space to heal from the trauma or hurt they may have experienced. Foster care can even help to heal foster parents. It’s hard to understand what baggage you carry until you’re confronted with a trigger. Once you can see and understand triggers, you too can begin to heal.
As we are immersed in the holiday season, let’s give thanks for the healing that can happen through foster care.