We Asked Real Foster Families About Fostering—Here’s What They Said - Finds.Life.Church

We Asked Real Foster Families About Fostering—Here’s What They Said

by finds.life

If you’re considering fostering, you might have a lot of questions. If you’re unsure about fostering children in your home but want to better understand how to support foster families, there could still be many unknowns. We asked real foster families some common questions about fostering, and their answers might provide you useful knowledge and alleviate the fears and doubts you may have. Here are their stories.

Who are these children in foster care, and why are they in state custody in the first place?

Dr. Deb Shropshire—Pediatrician, Child Welfare Director, OKDHS
The vast majority of children who enter the foster care system have come from family situations—life situations—that have neglect. Those situations, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental illness in the parents that’s untreated, creates a situation for the child where they are unsafe. Safety is the determinant of what causes children to come into foster care.

Bryan and Taylor Ketron—Foster Parents
Taylor: There is a stigma that kids are in foster care because they’re bad. They’re not. They’re in foster care because something happened to them. Understand that they will come with trauma and they will come from hard places and maybe have some issues that you haven’t had to walk through in your own life.

Ashley Walker—Foster Parent
I’ve worked with so many kids in foster care who are teenagers. For some, they want to be adopted, for some, they want to be in a foster home. For some, they want to be independent. The group home model works for, I would say, some of those youth, but everybody needs a team of supportive people that doesn’t have an expiration date.

What is my goal as a foster parent? Will I get to adopt the kids I take care of?

David and Patty Wommer—Foster Parents
Patty: My goal first is to love them and show them unconditional love and to show them what a family really is—I think mainly how discipline and love really should work.

Dr. Deb Shropshire—Pediatrician, Deputy Director, OKDHS
What we’ve come to understand about kids who’ve experienced abuse and neglect, or kids who have come into foster care, is that what happens to you in childhood actually plays out throughout your whole entire life. I think we all get that to some degree in our own lives, but it plays out in a generational way for these kids. So, what we’ve come to understand is that well-being piece like really growing up, not just surviving, but growing up and being well is about understanding that you’re worth something and have value—that you’re on the planet for a purpose. You’re not here by accident; you’re not just a throwaway kid. You’re not just somebody nobody wants or somebody has to deal with.

Michael and Paige Lane—Foster Parents
Paige: When you’re fostering a child, you’re fostering a family, and that’s something that I don’t think that we really knew or prepared for, but has been one of the biggest blessings.

How am I going to make this work financially?

Michael and Paige Lane—Foster Parents
Michael: Before we started fostering, that was a main concern of mine. That was something that was fresh in my head—how are we going to have the money to pay for this kind of stuff?

David and Patty Wommer—Foster Parents
Patty: There are a lot of organizations that will donate clothes and things that you need. The other big help is your LifeGroup. Our LifeGroup right now is donating money toward the biological father’s home so that he can establish a good home for the kids and be able to pay the rent that he needs in order to have them back.

Ray and Melissa Leyba—Foster Parents
Melissa: Oh really, it’s not a financial burden, because the state provides the childcare, the state provides the healthcare, and then they provide your family a stipend. So, there’s really not out-of-pocket expenses.
Ray: It’s more of a time investment.

Can I foster if I’m single?

Ashley Walker—Foster Parent
When I first started fostering, that was what a lot of people said: “Why don’t you wait until you get married?” I just couldn’t find any biblical and kingdom reason to withhold a gift of relationship and a gift of connecting because I didn’t have a husband. However, I do believe that if you’re going into fostering, you have to have a support system. So, instead of relying on God sending me my husband, so that I could foster, I relied on God sending me a community of believers so that I could foster.

Although we may not all be called to foster a child in our home, we can all help foster kids and families by serving with a local mission partner or even serving in LifeKids and Switch. We can also take a foster family out to dinner, make them meals, or donate clothing to them. Jesus said this in Matthew 18:5 NLT: “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.” So, when you say yes to God’s prompting to get involved in the lives of kids, you’re saying yes to Jesus.