5 Important Things I Learned in my First Year as a Foster Parent

5 Important Things I Learned in my First Year as a Foster Parent

It is worth it. 

“There is no such thing as other people’s children” –Glennon Doyle Melton

I’d typically place this point at the bottom of the article, as the wrap up, but I thought it important to begin by confirming: Yes, it is worth it.

The two overwhelming responses to foster care from outsiders are 1) I could never do it. I would become too attached. 2) Foster kids are “bad kids” who steal, lie, and ruin the lives of people who are just trying to help them. Be careful!

The truth about foster care and the children in the system cannot be conveyed through generalities or clichés. Every case, every child, and every family is unique; therefore, every experience and outcome is unique. The only certainty is this: There will be scars.

Some foster care advocates tout that the rewards of caring for hurting children outweigh the challenges. The propaganda also implies that there will be redemption and solace at the end of the dark periods, but in foster care there are no guarantees. Being a foster parent is, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever done. But it’s worth it for the same reasons men and women, in public service or the armed forces, put themselves in harm’s way everyday.

Foster care is worth it is because the kids—our children—are worth it. They have experienced the worst of humanity and their parents have failed them. More than anyone, they deserve grace, and those basic  human rights: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” For me, a Christ follower, living out grace and love is a calling on my life that I cannot ignore.

The system &?%*@!# sucks.

As a rule, I do not curse but I find the f-bomb necessary when describing the state of the foster care system in the United States. I have experienced the brokenness of the system within the walls of my home and I believe there is an argument that the institution that is meant to protect broken and displaced children is intrinsically abusive… read more.

This article was published by adoption.com.


The Importance of Community in Foster Care and Adoption

The Importance of Community in Foster Care and Adoption
Children need families – but they also need community. And so do we.

When I recount the number of people who have had a great influence on my life, it nearly brings me to tears. I was blessed with dozens of role models and mentors who encouraged me throughout my childhood and adolescence. A handful were family members, but most of them were outsiders—teachers, friends, and even employers—who helped shaped me into the opinionated, confident, sometimes insufferable woman I am today.

As a child, I was surrounded by a church community, and in high school I found a community of my own—the drama geeks. In both, I encountered trusted adults who were different from my parents. They offered me access to viewpoints, life experiences, and advice that Mom and Dad could not provide. Those respected guides taught me that the world was infinitely bigger than I had imagined and that the fences on either side of the narrow path I thought lay before me were only imaginary.

Role Models and Mentors

We know displaced children have experienced trauma and that their parents have not provided a stable environment in which they could thrive, but what we often forget is that these kids—our kids—have likely not had any positive role models or mentors in their lives outside of school. Every child needs someone to love them unconditionally and encourage them. While foster and adoptive parent-child relationships can be complicated, divisive, and fraught with confusion (especially in the beginning), sometimes an outsider can find it easier reach the child and gain his respect and confidence… read more.

This article was published by adoption.com.