If you had told me five years ago that we would be foster parents, I would say there was no way that was going to happen. Why would we? I don't have the skills. What about my own kids? Too many unknowns. However, here we are, loving our Little One. You might be like me saying "Uh, no thanks. Great you can do it but it's not for our family." I get it. There are times in life where it truly would be too much, however, there are other times when we need that nudge. Consider this your nudge.
Here are five reasons YOU could be a foster parent:
1. There is a need and you can fill it. I don't mean like "Oh hey, I'm sure they could use you." I mean, they NEED you. If you are open to babies (that does require some additional training with a Safe Babies course) or teenagers, you would be a priority at moving through the process. Once our Little One returns home, another will be placed with us quite quickly–sometimes within 24 hours!
2. You have what is needed (logistically.) Do you have an extra bedroom (or you could make that happen?) Do you have room in your vehicle? Are you a stay-at-home mom/dad or at least home most of the time? Ta da, you could have another child in your home. We are open to a single child, or a sibling pair if need be, from the ages of two to eight. We couldn't do more than that based on our sanity, vehicle, and bedroom situation. When you are presented with a child over the phone, you always have the option to say "no."
3. Love. What is greater? You will witness what true love, in the form of safety and nurturing, can do for a child. You will feel that love in return. Our Little One is so great at giving hugs and cuddles. If I even go out for a five minute walk, I am welcomed back with "Mommy!! Mommy!!" accompanied with a giant embrace. What matters most in life? What is our purpose for being here? I truly believe that we are here to love. This was our greatest reason for fostering; we have a loving, stable home, how could we not share that?!
4. You can show your children what community really is. We talk so much about inclusiveness and being kind and showing love, but what about actually demonstrating it? What about really bringing it home. In return, you will be AMAZED at what your own children will teach you. Our nine-year-old son is not an expressive kind of guy, but every day, he gives our Little One a giant hug and an "I love you so much!" which is a whole lot more than I get from him.
5. You have what is needed (ability wise). Do you have a stable and loving home? Do you know how to feed, clothe, and listen to children? Are you somewhat organized? Are you willing to learn? Are you healthy? You don't need to have amazing gifts or abilities, you just need to do what you already do/would do with your own children (with an extra dose of patience and grace thrown in there.)
If you keep telling yourself that someone else will do it, then you can be sure that that "someone else" is saying the same thing. I'd encourage you to just go to an informational meeting and see what happens once you're there. If that's too big of a step, what about meeting with a current foster parent? The foster system is messy and frustrating but staying away from it isn't helping the situation. If you would like more information, you can check out the Ministry of Children and Families. Or ask me. I am not saying it's easy because it's not. Is it worth it? For sure. Most definitely. 100%.