It is instinct. It is common sense. Children belong in families. Children are simply unable to care for their own needs. They require and deserve the support, knowledge, love, and nurturing care that only a family can provide. A child needs this care to grow and mature as a healthy person; to thrive.
Though some of us may have complaints about how our families raised us, most of us at least had a home, a bed, a meal, someone to turn to when we needed help.
Many children are deprived of even these basic needs! For one reason or another, their parents are unable to provide for their care. These children are not residents of a foreign country; they might be your neighbors' kids. They could be your children's playmates. And they need your help. They need a home and a family, sometimes just for a night, sometimes for 6 months, but maybe for a lifetime.
If your best friend or your brother or sister were unable to take care of their children, wouldn't you want to step in and do all that you could to help? That is foster care: opening your home and your family to a child who needs you.
However, taking a child into your home requires more than sympathy. It is more than just an offer to help. It is a commitment to treating a stranger like your own family. It is day in and day out of going above and beyond. Even if you've raised children of your own, you may not be prepared for the challenges of fostering.
By the time a child has been placed into the child welfare system, he has already experienced some type of trauma. Either his needs have not been met due to a caregiver's neglect, or he has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused.
What's worse, when a child experiences trauma, he would normally turn to his family for support, but now, he cannot go back to his home! He cannot cry to his mother or father. For his own protection and well-being, he must go and live with a complete stranger.
This is difficult for a child to understand, and since they do not have the necessary language or experience to accurately express their emotions, they may let their fears and anger come out in strange or unpleasant behaviors, such as bedwetting, physical aggression, or excessive tantrums. If the children are older and have been neglected for a long time, their emotional and intellectual growth may be stunted. They may be 17, but they might act like a 10-year-old! That is why they need the stability and strength of a healthy family to help them understand and cope with their situation.
Fostering is not all hard work. There are great moments as well. Try to imagine the joy you would experience if you were to give a child his first Christmas present ever! And even when you do face challenges, you will receive knowledge and support from experienced social workers and other foster parents. You will be armed with enough training to face almost any obstacle that fostering presents.
If you're reading this page, you've probably already felt a burden to help a child. That is the first and most important step. That sense of compassion will give you the strength and determination you need to reach the moment years from now when a child who once lived in your home calls you and thanks you for saving his life.
Call us today to speak with one of our foster parent recruiters. We know you can help.