5 reasons not to foster, BUT WAIT…

“I don’t want to foster until my kids are out of the house.”
“I don’t know if I could love a foster or adoptive child the way I can love a birth child”
“It is just not the same as having your own child”
“I am afraid of getting too attached”
“Aren’t those children in the system for behavior problems?”

These are all lines I have heard a billion times. Not in my career, I am not even that far into my career yet, but in my personal life. And friends, it is heart breaking on so many levels. Not negatively, but heart breaking that there is not a true innate understanding of foster care in our world. Why is it so foreign when it has existed for so long?
So here is what I am going to do: For every line quoted above, I am going to “debate” against it here below because friends, fostering is so good. These children in the system are AH-MAZING so deserving of a loving home. Just a little nugget to think on –> if something happened to you and your child’s other parent/guardian, you had no one else, no family, no friends, to raise your children, wouldn’t you hope that a loving family would take your children in? And I feel pretty confident that each one of you reading these words are saying “of course!!”. That is the natural response & I agree with you, however who is going to step up and do these things? If not you, you and you, then who?
Here we go:
 
“I don’t want to foster until my kids are out of the house.” 
With this line, I often hear the reasoning behind it is fear. Parents fear their birth children seeing, hearing, or learning things far beyond their age. Parents don’t want to expose their children to “bad behavior.” Parents want to spend their initial time with their children and give what is left over to those in need. But guys, here’s the problem with these things, the Lord calls us to care for the orphaned and the widowed (James 1:27). Of course this can be done in many ways, however if being a foster parent is a part of your calling, don’t hesitate to put it off. I think one of the greatest things you can do is to foster for the sake of the child, but also to teach your own biological children what it is to give, to love in such a way that you take other’s children as your own, and to live according to the purpose God has given your life. Don’t be afraid. It may not always be easy, but it isn’t always easy raising biological kids either. Raising kids is tough, but also rewarding. The same goes for foster children. Raising them may be tough and you may encounter more extreme circumstances, but it is important to remember that more than likely they have endured extreme trauma. There will be resources to see you through tough times. It is so worth it to raise foster/adopted children alongside your biological children.
“I don’t know if I could love a foster or adoptive child the way I can love a birth child”  
This is a really common fear. And that is okay. It is natural to be afraid of not being able to love another child the way you love a birth child. Carrying a child for nine months will create an unexplained bond, but here’s the thing, I bet that you will learn to love these children you have with the same amount of love because of the extreme circumstances  that brought you all to the point of foster parenting. It is a beautiful, heart-breaking, nothing like it, kind of love formed. If you feel the Lord’s calling on your life to be a foster parent, read Proverbs 3:5-6 867 times and then tell the agency of your choice you are ready!! *Cheering you on!!*
 
“It is just not the same as having your own child”  
Correct. The main purpose of foster care is to keep the child safe, protected, and in a healthy environment while said child’s parents have guidance to change & do what it is they need to do in order to raise their children in a safe environment. In short, family reunification is often the end goal. However, this does not always happen as many know. In many cases, children cannot return home because of the situations. The court determines this. Upon such rulings, it is possible that adoption will become an option. Then the child will definitely become “your child.” Even if adoption is not an option, we are able because of God’s love and His strength through us, we are able to love these children just like they are our own. We are sacrificing our hearts to be what the child needs in a parent figure. It may not feel the same at first and in a way I don’t know that feeling the same would even be an accurate depiction of the feelings of fostering, however it will feel incredible to love and parent another child. You may even have the opportunity to love and parent the child alongside the bio parents (depending on what the paperwork reads) & what a ministry that is. Not only do you get to love the child, but you get to learn to love the parents and help them be the parents they need to be for their child. Imagine that, so hard, but so so rewarding.
“I am afraid of getting too attached”   
Friend, get too attached!! It will be so worth it every single time. You are literally helping lives, helping futures, and helping families. You are equipped through your training. You are supported through your local agency, social workers, communities, friends, families, and if all else fails you have the most support from our Heavenly Father. Shoot me a message; I will cheer you on every day!! So. Worth. It. <33
 
“Aren’t those children in the system for behavior problems?”   
Nooooooo. Nooooooo. Nooooooo. The smallest percentage of children are in the system with reason of poor behavior. Sure, children may have poor behavior. But think about everything they have been through and tell me how you would act. Sexual abuse. Physical abuse. Neglect. Mental abuse. Starvation. Were you raised to be a thief? Were you raised around constant violence? Were you raised around drugs? If you were, I trust you understand. If you weren’t, I am so glad. However, these children in the system are amazing. Even the one’s who have behavior issues are amazing. For the simple matter of they are created by the Father. If you give foster parenting a chance, you will find your heart sink so deep into the groove of fostering. You will find yourself crying in many moments, but in the moments of success you will feel the most joy. It is so rewarding to see a child succeed. It is so rewarding to see a destructive behavior no longer performed. It is so rewarding to see a child learn to accept healthy love.
Friends, we can all be a part of the foster care community. Whether you feel called to be a foster parent or not. If not, there are so many ways to get involved. Number one, pray for foster parents and children. Take your fellow fostering friends meals, coffees, treats. Offer a date night. Get to be a part of a local church outreach for foster parents. Let your kids have play dates with their kids to give them time for adult chat. Send sweet encouraging letters in the mail. So many things you can do, friends.
 
What are some of the things that hold you back from foster parenting? What are some of your favorite ways to support a foster parent? Tell me in the comments below!! 
 
<3,
Hannah

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