We couldn’t do it by ourselves.
Foster care is hard enough on it’s own. You welcome strangers into your home that you open your heart to before you even meet them. You have meetings with case workers and licensing workers and Family Support Teams (or whatever they’re called where you’re from). In addition to the appointments every child has, you have to take kids to family visits, get them ready for weekend stays, and deal with the emotional rollercoaster when they return. Often, because of the trauma the children have faced, you have to take them to therapy appointments as well.
All parenting takes work. Let’s not minimize that of any family, whether they have one child or a dozen. Foster parenting, however, has its unique challenges.
And I am thankful for the support that we have through our family, friends, and church.
When children come into our home, they’re not simply gaining us as foster parents. Our families love them the best they can for the season they are with us. They gain foster grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Family and friends often ask us what we need. Our church family, too, who welcomes them with open arms.
If you’re counted among family, friends, and church, know that we could not do it without you.
But, we have heard stories from others. We know that not every foster parent receives the same level of support from those close to them. So, I want to issue this challenge:
Maybe you feel like you’re not meant to foster. There’s nothing wrong with that, God gifts and calls us each to different good works and acts of service in life. But if you know someone who does foster–a friend, a family member, a neighbor, a coworker, a fellow church member, etc., then be a support for them.
Pray for them. Encourage them. Offer to help–there’s always laundry, cleaning, and homework that need done and meals that need prepared. Maybe even consider becoming a respite provider. A respite provider is someone who is approved by a foster agency or state to watch foster kids for a few days. It can give foster parents a needed break since, often, they can’t leave their foster children with friends or family to take a trip, like we often do with biological children.
If you know a foster family, know that they need your love and support in the unique challenges they face. They can’t do it on their own.
We all need a village.