Public perception would have you believe foster children are all Little Orphan Annies or worse – juvenile delinquents responsible for their situation. What are foster children for a large part of the public? They are a stereotype, a cliché, a character in a movie or a book. But for foster parents they’re something much different: they are great kids.
What are foster children?
It’s a simple enough question with a seemingly easy answer. Foster children are children in a temporary living arrangement due to being abused and/or neglected by their parents. Some of these kids move into a foster home while others may move in with a relative or a friend. Either way, the state becomes involved and certifies the caregiver.
But that really doesn’t tell the story of who these foster children are.
They are blameless . Foster children are kids who did nothing wrong but somehow found themselves removed from their homes and their family. They are children who didn’t know it wasn’t normal to have a bag of Cheetos for dinner. They are kids who didn’t know other children didn’t have to put out mom’s cigarettes as she dozed on the couch with drug paraphernalia on the table. They are kids who didn’t know they were being robbed of their childhood.
They are innocent. Through no fault of their own, they faced unthinkable challenges and hardships. They are children who were left alone, forgotten about or abused by the people they loved the most. They are the community’s children.
They are resilient.
Foster children are kids you see every day. They play in the front yards of houses, they’re at the grocery store picking out food next to you, and they’re friends with your children at school. They’re part of the fabric of your daily life and you could never tell.
They are part of the future.
They grow up to become adults who make the world a better place. They become policemen, teachers, actors and star quarterbacks. They‘re your friends, your co-workers, your daughter’s teacher, your son’s coach.
What are foster children? They’re the community’s children with the same hopes and dreams of all children, and they deserve our help.
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.