We have learned that foster care is not about our needs as much as it is about the needs of the children. Many children who come into foster care have been subjected to neglect and abuse, however, giving a child a safe home, that is full of unconditional love – we feel, is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things in the world. There will be many things out of your control throughout the foster process, but the one thing you can control is your attitude regarding the situation and how you treat/respond to the children in your home.
Prior to getting involved, we both felt quite leery of looking into foster care. The stigma was strong growing up and we had our reservations about opening our home to the government! The horror stories and bad experiences people love to talk about were in our minds as well. But once we started pursuing it, we realized that these were nothing more than stigmas and that even if they were true, our desire and faith are stronger and greater than our fears and reservations.
Letting this fear rule me, listening to horror stories from the news and Facebook pages. This wasn't helpful thinking, either. Instead, we have been able to tackle foster care one day at a time. It's not always easy, and sometimes loving someone from a hard place is HARD, but again, it's so very worth it. The benefits and character growth that I've experienced through foster care is worth so much more than the pain and "suffering" it has caused.
I think one of the best things about opening up our home was that, from a young age, I understood that not everyone got to have a life like mine. I was instilled with a desire to help those who are less fortunate and that desire has continued, and is even affecting my future career choices.
One of the most common things I have had said to me as a foster parent is, “I just don’t think I could do it, I’d get too attached. It would be too hard to give them back.” The thing is, all I can say to that is you’re right. You do get attached. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Not a day goes by without someone asking how I decided to be a foster mom. Maybe it’s because I’m single, have a full time lawyer job, and have no biological kiddos. Maybe it’s because it seems crazy to sign up for almost guaranteed grief and a life that is all but impossible to plan. Whatever the reason for the question, it’s a good and important one.
The amount of homeless people would decrease, crimes would decrease, drug consumption would decrease, break down of the family would decrease and much more…You see 20% of children aging out of foster care instantly end up homeless, 80% of men who age out of foster care are arrested and 60% of these men are convicted, 1 out of 2 kids who age out of the system become substance dependent, 7 out of 10 girls who age out of foster care are pregnant by the time they turn 21 and their children often enter foster care, thus repeating the cycle of breaking down families and growing our nation’s foster care crisis.
I want the world to know that family is not only blood relation but that love makes a family. Love is what keeps this family, my family, going. I want the world to know that no matter who we farm kids are, where we are, what we have, we are all going to shoot for the moon because we have been given the love and support to believe in ourselves and our futures.
For the past four years, I have worked almost exclusively for orphans and orphan projects around the world. After a long career in television, I made the decision to support these vulnerable, beautiful children in 2014. I can say it’s been the most rewarding and life-changing career move imaginable.
Throughout the world (and I’ve seen this with my own eyes, my own heart), there are committed people filling desperate gaps in a broken system with boundless love and tireless energy. These people are heroes not villains. They are providing hope in hopeless stories, shining a light in the darkness, sacrificing everything so that a few children can shine. They are part of the solution, not the problem.
There is a place that exists on the India Nepal border, that is home to 70+ orphaned and abandoned children. This place is an oasis in the midst of heartache and brokenness, which are born from poverty and broken families. Rarely, would I claim, that an “orphanage” is a good place, but this place, The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission, is a good place. In fact, it is a good home.