3 Ways Foster Care Will Change Your Life
Foster care will change the way you think and who you are. While many people go into fostering to help children, the impact it will have on you is powerful. Just ask the hundreds of Bair families who have changed so many lives along their foster parenting journey while also changing their own.
First, what is foster care? It’s providing a temporary home for children and teens that cannot live safely with their biological families. The ultimate goal is reunification, but sometimes that is not possible. If a child is unable to return home, a permanent solution is found. This may include living with a relative, known as “kinship” care, living with a legal guardian or being adopted if the biological rights have been terminated. Many of the Bair Foundation offices are able to facilitate the adoption of foster youth and many children and teens have successfully been adopted by their Bair foster families.
1. Your Heart Will Expand
As a foster parent, you may end up with one or two children for a long period of time, or you could have multiple children coming and going. As impossible as it may seem, your heart will expand to hold enough love for every single child that comes into your home.
2. You’ll Learn That Changing One Life Makes a Difference
When a child is brought to your home in the middle of the night with nothing but their pajamas, you will see that changing that one little life is the most important thing you can do in that moment. Children who are scared and alone need the security that a stable home can bring, even if it’s only for a short time. You can be that difference.
In some cases, adoption through foster care is possible, and certain children can become a part of your family forever. Again, that one life will make a difference. You don’t have to change the world to make it a better place.
3. You’ll Become Softer, yet Stronger
Foster care is fulfilling and difficult at the same time. A foster child may divulge things they have experienced that may seem unfathomable. Sometimes, you may not understand the manner in which they are expressing their emotions, but if you truly look deep within their pain, your heart will break for them. This will make you softer as you find it in your heart to love unconditional and care for children who have been traumatized.
It is required by law to establish a permanency plan for every foster child. Reunification (returning a child safely to their biological family) is always the first option if at all possible. When it’s time for a child to be returned home or to a relative, it can be hard to let them go. It’s natural to grieve and know that it’s OK to miss them. By remembering that there are more children coming into foster care who need a loving home, you’ll gain the strength to open up your heart and home again.
Foster care can be challenging, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. When you give a child love, it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Every lesson you teach them, every experience you share, every kind word you speak into their lives, will not be forgotten. It will be part of their story, part of their life, part of what will make them who they are when they become adults with so much opportunity ahead of them.