May 26, 2017
This one is tough because it’s partly true.
Meet Bindi, M.S., Regional Manager with Bethany Christian Services in Athens, Georgia
Truth: You’ll get attached.
Foster parents do get attached, but that’s good. Children in foster care need adults who will get close to them and invest in their lives. You can’t meet their needs if you remain detached, protecting your own heart. Real relationships, real love, can only come from a place of attachment.
I understand the fear of unknown. If you’ve never fostered before, it can feel scary to imagine welcoming kids into your life, loving them, and having them leave. If you can imagine how you would feel, try to imagine how it would feel for a child. If a child in your community can’t come to your home to be loved and protected, where will they go?
In Georgia, 13,000 children are in foster care—that’s 2,000 more children since 2015. Because there aren’t enough local foster homes, more and more, we have to place children in care up to 90 minutes away from their community. For a child, that can be really scary.
Ready to take the first step? Click here to learn more about becoming a foster parent.
Myth: You can’t do it.
I have worked with several families that thought they couldn’t foster. They didn’t think they could deal with children coming and going. One family had good friends that were fostering. They became licensed so they could help with respite care or a short-term placement. As they helped their friends, they began to understand more about how foster care works.
They watched their friends mourn each time a child left their care, and they helped walk with their friends through that grief and move on. Learning through someone else’s foster care experience helped their own fear subside, and they knew they could do it too.
Truth: You will grieve.
Foster parents will grieve when a child leaves their home. That’s healthy. Talk with other foster parents who have been through it. Find a mentor, support group, therapist, or counselor. This is a unique grief—no one who hasn’t experienced it can completely understand or give you the support you need.
When a child leaves your home, it’s OK to allow yourself time to grieve. Whether that means waiting between your next placement or welcoming another child quickly, do what is right for your family. Most foster care specialists will say, “Let me know when you’re ready.” We can definitely keep a family full—I get 50 emails a day about children who need a home—but we also need to be sensitive to the real grief and loss that foster families experience.
Foster care is a tangible way to minister to children in a time of significant need. If this is something God is calling you to do, He will help you through it. He will give you peace for the hard times. He will take care of you and your family. Trust Him to carry you through.
- Myth: "I can't foster. I'm too old."
- Myth: "I can't foster. I've never parented before."
- Myth: “I can’t foster. I’m single.”
- How Do I Get Started? Q&A for first-time foster parents
- Did You Really Just Say That? Diffusing 5 Awkward Comments
- Nervous about Attachment in Foster Care? Learn How to Help a Child in Your Care Feel Safe
- Reunification: Foster Care’s First Goal
- Do I Have What it Takes to be a Foster Parent?