Do Foster Parents Matter?
Foster parents may sometimes wonder if they made a difference in a child’s life. Because fostering is temporary, children are with you for a limited time. Although some foster parents decide to adopt their foster child, more often foster children move on.
It’s not surprising then, for foster parents to wonder whether what they did mattered. We assure you that foster parents do matter.
We heard this loud and clear in an earlier blog post by former foster youth Kristina. Among other things, she said “I’m 21 now. I’ve graduated from high school and I have a good job that I enjoy. I could never have gotten this far without the support of my foster families.” Her remarks can be found in full here.
Kristina keeps in touch with the family who fostered her up until she turned 18. For them the answer is clear; they mattered.
But what of those foster children who are younger when they live with you and then move on? How do you know you made a difference for them? You can’t help but wonder.
Several months ago a former resident of Plummer’s group home wrote a deeply personal reflection of this topic in the blog Main St Rock. In his post, called Years in the Fog of Ignorance, he reflects on time spent being fostered by an Aunt in California, 3,000 miles away from his parents in Massachusetts.
As an adult looking back on that time, he has come to understand the profound commitment made by foster parents, including his Aunt.
In a time when she could have continued right on living the life she had built for herself, the children of her adopted brother needed someone to help them. So she got a new apartment, took foster care classes, made arrangements, spent money, and turned her entire life upside down for no purpose other than to provide a safe place for [me and my sister].
And he is humble in his thanks:
[Fifteen years later, I am] …. truly speechless. I can understand and accept the fact that in my anger and confusion as a young child, it wasn’t possible for me to see these things. But I had grown up a lot since then. How had I been so blind to everything she gave me? How had I not acknowledged publicly or even privately how much it meant to me that she was willing to do that? How had I been so oblivious and ignorant?
Today David is struggling to find the courage to call his Aunt and say thank you. Like many people who have fostered, no doubt she is wondering if she made a difference. The answer is a resounding yes. We hope that in her heart, and in the heart of so many people who foster, the knowledge that their fostering did indeed matter remains steadfast and true.
Interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent? Click here.