As an organization, FAFS talks a lot about what fostering can be like. But the best source of information on the realities of foster care is real foster parents – so we’ve collected some quotes from foster parents around New Jersey about what fostering has been like for them. See what happens when foster parents speak out:
Foster Parents Speak Out About Kinship Care
Lisa found herself suddenly thrust into foster care when her brother became unable to care for his daughter. Now, charged with raising her niece, Lisa is experiencing firsthand what it means to be a parent. Although she figured she’d never have children, her niece has opened her eyes to a whole new world.
Learn more about Lisa’s story in our Heart To Heart Mentoring Video by clicking here.
Foster Parents Speak Out About Being Skeptical About Foster Parenting
“I wanted to just adopt,” Leandra told us. “I wanted one child, maybe two.” But after she got started, she just couldn’t stop. For Leandra, once she took that leap, she realized just how much love she had to share. “I adopted my daughter and I adopted my son and I currently have two in placement.” After 10 years as a foster parent, Leandra knows that sometimes, you have to let go of your doubts and just jump in.
Leandra now works as a Connecting Families Volunteer Chair – hear more about how she helps foster families adjust to the experience by watching our Connecting Families video here.
Paul was not interested in being a foster parent. His partner, Dan, had pushed him to consider opening their home, but Paul had his doubts. They agreed that, at any point, if either one of them had a real problem with the nature of fostering, they could call an end to it and close their home.
“The truth is, by the end of the process, I was the expectant dad waiting for that child.” Now, Paul wouldn’t have it any other way – he discovered a love in his heart that he didn’t even know was there.
Foster Parents Speak Out About Why We Should Foster
Fostering doesn’t only change the lives of the children in foster care – it can also change you. For Dan, foster care represented a huge focus shift. Instead of just living in an adult world with adult concerns, Dan found that his foster kids helped him remember to have a little fun. “Now we make more time to go off and have fun with them,” he told us. “And that to me is so rewarding, to watch them have fun but also to enjoy it with them.”
As a first time foster parent, Dan knew that he and Paul would need some help adjusting to their new life. Find out how FAFS helped them along their fostering journey by clicking here.
If these quotes haven’t already made you consider whether or not you want to foster, Elena wants you to know that you CAN make a difference. “I would definitely say it was rewarding, difficult, but I have to tell you,” Elena said, “the girl that I met in 2014 and the girl that lives with us today – totally different.” For Elena, that transformation is what made the whole process so rewarding: “It gave her a chance to get her act together and worry about her own self and just be a kid.” Often, kids in foster care can be deprived of the everyday joys that others experience regularly. Through foster care, you can help them overcome those obstacles and have a chance to “just be a kid.”
Hear more from Elena and other parents in our “Why We Foster” video by clicking here.
Foster Parents Speak Out About the Hard Parts of Foster Parenting
Sometimes, as we focus on the well-being of the kids in foster care, we can forget that there’s a suffering parent out there. Victoria knows that reunification is the goal of foster care. From birthday invitations to graduation celebrations, the biological parents play a crucial role in Victoria’s foster parenting methods. When telling us about her experiences with one bio mom, she said, “I hugged her and I told her, I said, ‘I promise that I will do the best that I can in taking care of your baby. She cried. That, to me, gave her a feeling of security, I guess. You know, to know that her baby is still being taken care of.” Although it can be difficult, we have to remember that foster care is about helping to rebuild families – not split them up.
Mattie Walker has fostered more than 100 children in her time as a foster parent. After touching all those lives (and adopting some as well), Mattie’s feelings on the hard parts of foster care say it all – love and patience win the day. If you’re concerned about becoming a foster parent, just remember all of the parents you’ve heard from today – with love, patience and a willingness to help these children succeed, the experience of foster care can be one of the most rewarding and important things you’ll ever do.
You can learn more about Mattie by watching our “Why We Foster” video here.
FAFS is always looking for new opportunities to share our foster parents’ stories. If you or someone you know would be willing to share a few words with us, we’d love to expand our list of foster parent quotes! Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
If you’re a parent who feels like they need some help through the process of fostering, please reach out to our Information Line at 800.222.0047 or contact your FAFS Family Advocate.
Frank Alvarez is the Digital Media Coordinator at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.