When it comes to foster parents, people have said it all. They’ve been called everything from thieves who try to steal kids from their families to money hungry people who are only in it for themselves. What are foster parents to the public? They’re misunderstood. But what are foster parents for foster children? They’re an emotional support system; they’re a comforting presence, and they’re a security blanket. They’re family.
What are foster parents?
The simple answer is they are people who go through an extensive licensing process in order to care for children who have been neglected or abused in their homes.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story of who these foster parents are. Foster parents are people who open up their doors to complete strangers in order to provide a safe haven for children. They renovate their homes; they answer personal questions, and they open themselves up for extensive background checks all before a child they never met ever steps through the door.
They do it because they love children. They do it because they want to help. They do it because without them, these blameless children would have nowhere to go.
Foster parents are people that invest their time, their energy, their love and their guidance to children who often come into their homes fearful, angry and broken. These children are distrustful, having been hurt before, and it often takes a great deal of time and effort to simply get them to smile, let alone live without fear.
But foster parents take the time to change lives.
They sleep on the floor of their living room while the child, too scared to go to his room on his first night in an unfamiliar house, sleeps on the couch. They spend hours on the phone making sure the child receives the right services and medication he needs.
Foster parents are the people that bring a child to his first baseball game; they throw a girl her first birthday party. They let these children know they are valuable, that they matter and deserve love just like anyone else.
They do all of this while knowing, if the environment becomes safe and healthy, the child they’ve grown to care for could leave them to return to his family.
What are foster parents? They are regular people who do extraordinary work changing the lives of abused and neglected children.
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.