You’ve loved kids and everyone always commented on how much of a maternal instinct you have. It comes naturally to you — caring, loving and teaching children — which is why you knew you wanted to be a mother early on. But lately you’ve been thinking about how many kids out there need a home — maybe you saw a news report on the rising number of foster children nationally — but you’re not sure fostering is right for you. You may ask yourself, “Why should I foster?”
Why Should I Foster: To Change a Life
Children enter into the foster care system due to no fault of their own. They are innocent victims of difficult circumstances and without foster parents, they’d have nowhere to go. Foster parents open their homes, their families and their hearts to complete strangers in need. It’s not an easy thing to do — there’s a lengthy licensing process with the state each parent has to go through before they can receive a child —but foster parents do it because they know they can make a huge difference in the life of someone who needs them.
Foster children oftentimes come into care with scars — either emotional or physical. In most cases, these kids are victims of neglect. They have never had someone who cares about how they did in school, what kind of dinner they’d like or how they’d like to spend a Saturday as a family. What might seem commonplace to you, for them is something special.
This is why you can make such a palpable difference as a foster mom. By caring about the details of their day, by spending time with them through good and bad, and by introducing them to something new, you can change the direction of their life in a positive, meaningful way.
“It all started with someone believing in me,” a foster teen said in her scholarship essay. “From there my future became as easy as following the yellow brick road.”
Why Should I Foster: To Change Your Life
Look, being a parent of any kind isn’t easy. You’ll be dedicating a lot of time, energy and effort into raising children who often aren’t as grateful as they should be for all that you do. It’s a fact of life, and it’s likely not going to be much different as a foster parent.
But there will be moments — quiet, simple, beautiful — that remain with you for the rest of your life. Moments that will nourish your soul. Moments that you’ll cherish no matter where life takes you.
Moments only a foster mother could know.
“My happiest and proudest moment as a foster parent was watching a young girl with cerebral palsy move across the beach to touch the ocean,” a foster parent wrote. “She had come to us at three months of age and weighing only 5 pounds, having been born prematurely when her Mom went into labor early, most likely as a result of drug use. Watching this little girl overcome her physical limitations with her spunk and spirit is one of my best memories.”
These moments matter.
They change you, they change the way you see the world, and they change the way you see yourself.
“I went into this because I want to be a mom,” former foster parent Ashley Chiappano said. “I went into this to have them, not for them to have me. People say ‘they’re so lucky to have you.’ The truth is I’m so lucky to have them.”
Why Should I Foster: To Change The Future
These children in need will be there whether you decide to become a foster parent or not.
They’ll be there, waiting for someone.
These children, who have had unimaginable beginnings, many times have predictable endings. It’s an all-too familiar cycle of foster children producing children of their own who, in turn, have to go into foster care. By becoming a foster parent, you can break that cycle.
You can help raise children and teens to be more than where they came from. You can teach them to work harder, aim higher and dream bigger.
Because if it isn’t you opening the door for these children, then who?
Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.