1. You have something to offer a child.

This point is for those of you who question their own ability as parents or better yet, those that question their ability to be a FOSTER parent. When you become a foster parent, you might fall into a vortex of ‘there’s a rule for that’ because at some point IT happened. And just because we all want to be good stewards of your time and expectations, most social workers you encounter in foster care are probably going to give you some worse case scenarios. Because at some point IT happened. But those ‘happenings’ ends up de-humanizing OUR kids. You have the skills to be a foster parent; honestly, you do. There isn’t some special training, or some magic gene that makes a person a great foster parent. It’s a regular person that is aware of the unique gifts they can impart to a child.  Not everyone is the same and some parents have strengths that vary, but how can we use those parenting strengths to give back to our most vulnerable populations?

Everyone’s relatability varies and we all understand, especially with parenting, there is a lot of ways to do it right. Do you naturally just love helping others? Do you have a good sense of humor? Have you gained wisdom through some difficult life circumstance that you have lived through? You have something to offer.

  1. Challenges provide growth and maturity in a family.

I am going to say this. Blended families are tough! I am a survivor of a blended family. Still surviving. And happy. And grateful everyday for the motley crew I come home to! Raising a blended family, caring for children who aren’t born to you is a tough business because first, you pick up in the middle of a story and must figure out what happened before, so that you can safely anticipate what’s to come. As you struggle through this, you’re strengthening your listening skills, you’re broadening your cultural horizons, you’re learning to see the world from a unique perspective as you put together the pieces.

As this is happening, you’re going to wake up one day to your blended family excitedly speaking to each other over breakfast about an upcoming family vacation; or, your biological child might come to you with concern about their step/foster/adoptive sibling being upset. You see where I am going with this. You’re teaching valuable lessons through examples to your children as well as adding to your own maturity and spiritual development.

  1. Lifelong Friendships.

This makes me think, ‘I am not like other moms, I am a cool mom’… There are two school of thoughts on this because most parents do not believe that you can provide effective discipline and be a friend to your child. That’s for another debate, but I am talking about our pre-teens and teenagers in foster care. The opportunity to be a friend and to show your foster child how to be a friend can be rewarding in the long run. As you befriend your child, you’re developing their confidence in you and as this happens opportunities for the child to heal will amaze you. Be a friend to a foster child now, I guarantee you will have a friend in them for life.

  1. Kids bring JOY.

The obvious one here is babies!!!!! But also, all kids. I see parenting as being bittersweet because of course you want to have your child be little forever, but it’s also exciting to see them grow. My favorite thing as a case manager is hearing foster parents report back how much change they see in their child from day 1 to day 30. When a child is given the opportunity to develop in a safe and loving home, wonderful things begin to happen and what a joy is that? I am not saying there isn’t regression in the progression sometimes, but the JOY you will feel for the accomplishments your child will achieve is priceless.

  1. You will NEVER have enough time, so STOP waiting.

Taking the first step to become a foster parent is almost like jumping into a pool on the first warm day of the year. You inch to the edge and you just go for it, or otherwise lose your nerve. But once you’re in, you realize, this isn’t so bad. The water is becoming comfortable and the sun is warming your cheeks as you tread through the water.

What makes becoming a foster parent challenging is getting past the training and the paperwork and the rules. Harbor of Hope wants to help you make this organized, seamless, and flexible. The benefits far exceed the negative. Consider helping a child in your community through foster care and see for yourself!