March 12, 2010

Why Foster?

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails as of late asking me questions about fostering, the process, challenges we face, and about our personal experience. I figure that it would be easier for me to answer some of these questions openly on the blog so that if there are others with the same questions, they can read too! Enter: the weekly Why Foster?. Once a week I’ll either answer a question that I’ve received, talk about reasons that people shy away from fostering, or give you a good reason that you should foster (I’m good at this one!). So….here it goes.

Get Involved.

Reason 286:

The latest numbers show that at any given time there are approximately 510,000 children in foster care. About 51% of those kids are likely to be in foster care for more than a year. That means that at any given time, there are half of a million children experiencing the worst year of their entire lives. They feel alone, confused, sad, angry. Some of these kids will go to homeless shelters because the foster care agency cannot find an open foster home for them. Homeless shelters. For children. By themselves. Another handful of these kids will go to foster homes that don’t really care. I worked in the system, and I saw these foster home more often than not. Foster homes that are ‘in it for the money’ or have become so jaded that they cannot offer love. Homes that I would not want to live in.

One of my very favorite quotes is from a book called “Turning Stones” by Marc Parent. As a social worker in New York he says:

You hear about children falling through the cracks in the system. Let me tell you something: there is no system, there are only people – children don’t fall through cracks, they fall through fingers. The person who says “fell through the cracks in the system” is really saying that someone blew it and that the blame is going to be spread so broadly that accountability will fall to no one.

In opposition to the foster care system, I often hear people say that the government should not be responsible for foster care or for taking care of these children. And they are right. We should be responsible. You and I. And these kids, they’re falling through our fingers.

I realize this is an intense post. I’m not writing this to make anyone feel guilty. Just to open eyes to the need, and the hurt, and the reality. I also realize that not everyone is called to fostering. But I don’t say that to let you off the hook.

What an awesome opportunity to serve. What a blessing to get to be a part of these children’s lives. Don’t ask yourself if it would be comfortable. Because it won’t be. Don’t ask yourself if it would be convenient. Because it won’t be. Don’t ask yourself if it will be easy. Because it won’t be. DO ask yourself if you want to make change for the good, if you want to help kids who don’t know love, if you want to share the love you have.

Cause there’s no doubt you have love to give.

(Again, I realize that fostering is not for everyone. It is just in my soul to advocate for these kids. If you have questions about fostering, or something you would like me to talk about on the blog, please don’t hesitate to comment or to e-mail me – I’m happy to answer any questions I can! )

16 comments:

  1. Great post, I'm happy you're starting this weekly info post.

    We've just turned in our application to become foster parents. They say it will take 3-4 months to become certified. After 3 days I'm already impatient to begin helping a child. In the meantime I'm trying to learn more. Are there other books you would recommend?

    Also, I'm nervous about passing the interview process, we don't have criminal records or anything but I worry that one wrong word and we're out. Can you address that?

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  2. We are in the application/interview process. I was a foster child for almost two years of my life and just like you..I want to do it to be a "good" foster family. Thank you so much for this post. When people act like my hubby and I are crazy ('cause they do whenever we mention it) I am pointing them to this post!

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  3. Stopping by from Friday Follow, and I am so glad I did. God bless you for taking care of children who need a lot of love and kindness.

    I was a foster kid. The first one I lived one was very similar to my home environment. Didn't care for it much. But the second home was so full of love. I am forever greatful to that wonderful foster family for teaching me that a family home can be a happy one.

    I'm your newest follower.

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  4. I'm following you from Friday Follow!
    Heather
    http://www.ratherbechangingdiapers.com/

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  5. Very thoughtful post - I am glad to have found you through Friday Follow - I'm now a follower!

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  6. Hey there!
    I'm a new follower from Friday Follow! By the way your story above is really touching and it makes me want to get involved :)

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  7. Jendoop - I'm so excited for you! I know how it is, wanting to get through the process and get started - I'm feeling impatient for them to call us with our next placement! I will definitely address that - thanks for the input!

    Melissa- People act like we're crazy all the time too. I don't get it, but I guess that's why we do it!

    Leslie - Thank you so much for your comment. It made both my husband and I tear up. You don't know what a blessing it is to us to know that you still remember your foster family - that's always a prayer of ours, that they will remember our love. Thanks so much.

    Heather, Fertility Chick, and Amanda- Thanks for stopping by! Friday Follow is great, yeah?

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  8. Oh yeah, and Jendoop, I'm working on a resources link right now for the blog that will have more books that we've found helpful - I'll try to get it up soon!

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  9. Happy Saturday!! I am a New Friday Follower!!

    Sarah

    sarahsblogoffun.blogspot.com

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  10. Happy Friday Follow (on Saturday-lol). Stopping in to be your newest follower! Hope you can come follow me! Thanks and have a great weekend!

    Bridgette Groschen
    The Groschen Goblins
    http://www.groschengoblins.com

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  11. Hi, I am your latest follower from Friday Follow (on a saturday). Please stop by my blog at www.safehomehappymom.com and follow us as well.

    Have a lovely weekend

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  12. Great post!

    Stopping by to say Hi and Happy Follow Friday! Now following you!
    I have a whole bunch of giveaways going on if you wanted to check them out!
    http://mamasmoneysavers.com/category/current-giveaways

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  13. Hello from a late friday follower! I commend you for being a loving, caring foster parent! My best friend was taken out of a horribe situation and placed into a loving home who made her the beautiful person she is today! Thank God for families like your own!

    Following from...

    http://bizzimommi.blogspot.com

    Hope you'll stop by!

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  14. Hello,

    My husband and I are hoping to adopt a child through foster care. I understand that this is different from what you are doing but I am reading your blog with great interest. So much great information - thank you. I saw that you are working on a link for books, etc. that you have found helpful. Thank you again! I will look forward to seeing it.

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  15. Hey there.. I found your bog on Friday Follow. So glad I did. My hubby and I are looking into adoption soon. Your blog is such an inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Beth - Thank you! I hope that the blog is helpful. Let me know if you have any specific questions, or anything you'd like me to address on the blog. I'm so excited for you and your husband! We hope to adopt at some point - when it's best for the kids placed with us.

    E. Williamson- I'm so excited for you and your husband as well! It looks like maybe I should post on adoption soon! We would love to adopt kids who are placed with us sometime in the future - the situation just hasn't really presented itself yet. Let me know if you have any questions!

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Thanks for commenting!!

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