“Oh, honey, I could never do what you do. I couldn’t get attached and then have to say goodbye.”
“Why would you want to adopt? You have no idea what kind of issues they’re going to have.”
“I want to figure out a more stable job before I have kids, I would hate to not be able to provide.”
“I already have my own child, what if they are a bad influence?”
I’ve heard these reasons (or excuses) so many times. My husband and I had been married six months when we started the process to become foster parents. We were newlyweds renting a house and were the farthest from an established couple. But you know what? We did it. And our lives are changed for the better because we ignored the excuses and jumped in faith! I have conversations with people weekly who mention these excuses offhandedly at the thought. But I also have conversations with people are starting to feel a tug at their heart to foster. If you are one of those people who has had the idea pop up in the back of your head that you can’t do this, I’m here to help you fight off those reasons why not and tell you that you can do this. So here are 13 reasons why you should become a foster parent.
- Attachment: First of all, if you are worried that you will get attached, good. You have a heart. If you could pour into the life of a tiny human for months and NOT get attached, then stop reading right now because this is not for you. These children labeled “foster kids” are precious children created by God who deserve to have someone love them and treasure them. Our foster love had such a skewed perception of family when she showed up at our doorstep. Since the time she was three years old, she was taught that if you are bad, you move to a new place. No one was willing to attach to her, and she will suffer for her whole life because of the damage that caused her. We had another precious foster love in our home who we did not adopt. Did we get attached? Of course. We continue to pray for her every day, and we are thankful for the time we got to speak life into her life.
- Issues: Can any parent out there tell me that your child you gave birth to was perfect and never had any “issues”? I know many parents who are wonderful, who nurture their children and raise them the right way but still end up with rebellious children. The truth is, yes, these children have more to overcome. But wouldn’t you love to be the one championing for them to overcome the “issues” that come from being neglected and abused your whole childhood?
- Money: This one is easy. Do you have the money to put a roof over your own head? Then you have the money to foster. These children need a safe home, food in their bellies, and clean clothes on their backs. A foster child in West Virginia will receive a monthly stipend to provide those clean clothes and the food for their belly. They will have their own Medicaid card, so you pay nothing out of pocket for medical bills. They do not need to have the newest iPhone and name brand clothing; they just need a safe haven.
- Other kids: You have other kids? Great! They can help guide this child who needs a good support system. If you are worried about the influence they will have, look back at #2. The child that was born biologically into your family might have the same type of negative influence.
- Agencies: Are you afraid once you take one, your agency will harass you to take more than you can handle? We originally planned on accepting two children, because we felt like we had room for them and didn’t want to take on too much. When we first got the call for our foster love, they explained her situation and we said if we took her we wouldn’t take anymore because we knew she would be a handful. And you know what? Our agency called us only once about taking more. The only reason we even knew the other little girl needed a temporary placement was because we knew her personally and I called requesting to help!
- Time: Do you and your spouse both work, and you don’t want to stay home? There are certain agencies, like Mountain Heart, that will cover the cost of daycare for foster children who have two working parents!
- Time: Still think you don’t have time to be a full-time foster parent? That’s okay. It’s a life-changing commitment. But you can still help by becoming a respite provider. Respite providers are available for temporary relief to current foster parents, and for children who need a temporary placement until the workers find a home!
- Support: If you choose the right agency, they will provide therapy for your child. Not only do they cover the cost, but the therapist can even come to see your child at school, or they can provide transportation.
- 5,000: There are over 5,000 children in foster care in West Virginia. 5,000 children who need someone to stop giving reasons why not and start realizing the reasons why.
- Age: Know your limitations. If you are young and realize you are not equipped to handle a teenager, then don’t. Pray about it, and let your agency know what you can and cannot handle. If you think you are only ready for one, then only take one child. That is one more child who is being cared for than before!
- Just foster: If you don’t want to adopt, then don’t! You can still bridge the gap for a child who is waiting for a forever home. Love them while they are there, and pray for them when they are gone.
- Love: Do you have love in your heart to share with someone who needs it? Then do it.
- Champion: This is the #1 reason why you should become a foster parent: you get to become a champion for a child who needs it more than you can imagine. When our foster love came running into our home and our heart, she had no one. She was literally dropped off at our doorstep with trash bags. And she is incredible. She is hilarious, so smart, and beautiful, and she deserved a champion.
Is foster parenting easy? Of course not. Is it worth it? I can’t imagine anything more rewarding. If you have ever had a passing thought that you have pushed aside, stop pushing and spend some time in prayer. I would love to talk to more about this journey, because you CAN do this.
(Photo by Jordan Howerton)