Why Become a Foster Parent?

why become a foster parent

“Why become a foster parent?” is a question that is often asked of people who are fostering. It’s also a question that people thinking of becoming foster parents often ask themselves. Foster parents’ stories are very different, yet very much the same, in that we want to make a positive difference in the life of a vulnerable child.

I began fostering about 23 years ago. We adopted one child, our daughter Kyesha. Our niece Ginny was also in foster care in our home, and was adopted by my brother and sister-in-law. When we started fostering, we did not set out to adopt, however, I was always open to the idea.

I always credit my Mom and how I was raised in my decision to become a foster parent. When I first told my mother of my decision, she shared with me that she had always wanted to be a foster parent as well. However, my dad had died young, and my Mom was left to raise her children alone. At that time, she could not be a foster parent as a single mother.  My faith and my belief that we are all called to help one another also underlie my decision to become a foster parent.

Why Become a Foster Parent When You Have To Give Up The Child Someday?

I think most people feel they could not be foster parents because they could not give up the child when it was time for him or her to return home. However, I believe that if they looked at foster care as a means of providing support not only to a child but to a family, with the goal of rebuilding and strengthening that family, that it might make a difference. Foster care is temporary care of a child, in order to ensure the safety of that child, while the birth family addresses the underlying issues that led to the child’s placement in a foster home.

I strongly believe in family. The loss of my father affected me deeply as a child, and even now into adulthood. Children in foster care risk losing contact with their birth parents for a variety of reasons. If I can help a child and a family during a time of crisis, and in some way, help to rebuild that family so another child does not have to lose a parent forever, then I feel I have done something of value.

Why Become a Foster Parent When It’s So Hard?

The most challenging moments were caring for children with attachment issues, whether due to a developmental disability, to the child’s prior social experiences, or due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. In all our years of fostering, I have cared for three such children. In caring for those children in particular, the support of other foster parents was invaluable in understanding the behaviors the children exhibited  and in developing approaches to those behaviors that helped.

Why Become a Foster Parent? This.

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. 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.

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