It’s no secret there is a need for families to care for kids in foster care. There are over 400,000 kids in the system nationally. Some of them are unnecessarily living in group homes instead of with a family.
Being a foster family is a big commitment. We’re sure you have a lot of questions. Let’s get started by answering one of the most important: How is fostering able to make a long-term impact on kids in foster care and their biological families?
Fostering makes a difference; here are 5 reasons why:
Allows Time for Healing
God is for redemption and we need to be, too. When a child is removed from his home, the initial goal is rarely permanent removal. Biological parents are given the opportunity to grow and heal while their kids are cared for in a loving and stable home. The time away from each other involves counseling, meetings and visits for the biological parents and child. This temporary respite allows both the biological parents and the children space to heal. It is a crucial part of the redemption story.
(We are working on preventing kids from ever entering the system with our new Safe Families Program. Learn more here.)
There is a battle happening, but it is not between foster parents and biological parents. The battle is for the restoration of health and well-being to a family. It’s easy to make biological parents out to be villains in the story of a child from foster care, but be wary. Assume the best. Offer understanding and forgiveness. Show grace. Foster parents are temporary parents to a child who, despite circumstances, most likely still loves and is loved by her biological parents. By showing grace to the biological parents, foster parents build trust with the child. By showing grace, many foster parents are able to form long-term relationships with families of kids they have cared for, creating an even deeper impact.
Creates a Partnership
The families of kids in foster care often lack support. By opening your home to foster children while their parents heal you are offering a family support they may not have. The relationship foster families form with the child and their biological parents doesn’t have to end when they are reunified. Offering continued support to these families provides a long-term support system that can prevent future removal and trauma.
There are unfortunate cases in which the child is not allowed to return home but is also not available for adoption. This is how many stories of kids bouncing from home to home come to be. Fostering is designed to be short term, but it doesn’t always play out the way it’s designed. The system needs more foster families who are willing to live in the gray and care for kids long term even if they are unable to be adopted. Foster parents provide physical stability in the midst of a chaotic experience. They establish a schedule, consistently meet a child’s needs, ensure a child has shelter and transportation to school and doctor visits. Foster parents also provide emotional stability, calmly responding to a child’s anger, frustration, confusion and fear. When a foster parent also works with a child’s biological parents to include people, routines, experiences and traditions from a child’s life before foster care, they give the gift of additional stability.
Sparks Personal Growth
Kids in foster care have stories of brokenness, darkness and heartbreak. And stories of perseverance and growth and healing. Foster parents and kids from foster care make a huge impact on each other. This new journey changes foster parents. Fostering delivers a very real illustration of the redemption story with it pain and struggles, but also personal growth and deeper faith. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:4
We hope this answered your question about how fostering makes a difference. If you have other questions or are ready to get started fostering, get in touch today! We’d love to help you start your journey.