With Foster Care Awareness month winding down (May). I feel it is important to touch on the realization of what kids in foster care go through, and possibly bust some of the myths that some people may believe about children in care.
1. Children don't get a choice whether or not to be in foster care. The child enters care because an adult or adult(s) in their life are not adequately able to care for them. The child does not go into care because of their bad decisions. The child is placed into care because of an adults bad decision. Once a child is placed into care this becomes something that is seeped into them, and will effect almost everything they do for a lifetime.
2. Foster children need you to be conscious about how you speak about their first family. No matter what their biological parents have done, they are still their
family and the child still loves them. To dishonor the first family is to dishonor the child.
3. Each child has their own unique experience and circumstances. No two stories are the same. What is the same is that every single child has experienced loss.
4. Children in foster care are not BAD kids. They are traumatized. The behaviors they exhibit stem from abuse, neglect, and trauma.
5. Most children in foster care are not available for adoption. The first plan of foster care is almost always reunification. It is the hope of the county and the social workers that a parent is able to rehabilitate themselves so that they can be a healthy and successful parent. Only if this plan fails, and social workers have exhausted finding a kinship placement. It is then that a parent's right are terminated and the child is free for adoption.
6. Children in foster care struggle to trust. Imagine being hurt and betrayed by the one person who is supposed to keep you safe. Then you are pulled from the only home you knew and are being placed into the home of a complete stranger, who you know nothing about! That is a scary thought for me as an adult, let alone for a child to go through these circumstances.
The bottom line is that WE get to choose to be foster parents, WE get to choose how we serve the children in care. These innocent children did not choose any of it. All they want is to love and be loved in return. Behaviors don't always show it, but trust me...that is what they want! Give grace where grace is due. A child that is shown the love, understanding, and patience they deserve will crawl out of the darkness that buried them and have the chance at being all they can be!