39% 5 YEARS OR YOUNGER. 45% 6 TO 15 YEARS. 16% 16 TO 20 YEARS.
Fear is a powerful force. For most of us, fear has shaped many of the decisions that have led to who we are today. Fear can be good and can keep us from harm. Fear can also be a negative when it paralyzes us from doing what we know needs to be done. Many times these fears are unfounded, but we never take the chance to find out. So what do we do? How do we move into being educated on a subject that elicits fear?
When it comes to foster care, the list of fears can be long. ‘Will they hurt me or my children?’, ‘What if their birth parents hurt them or me?’, ‘What if I get attached and then the child goes back to their biological family?’ ‘What if the child has some undiagnosed special needs or learning disabilities?’……The list goes on. But the main question here is: are these these fears true? The answer is somewhere in the middle. Yes, these are real fears to consider and sometimes they happen, BUT they are by no means what is normal.
We have seen, that when it comes to foster care, we often use these fears as an excuse to not get involved. The fears are often heard thirdhand from a friend of a friend. If we have never researched foster care, children of trauma, the resources available for foster families, then why do we so quickly latch onto horror stories heard through the grapevine?
We know there are hard stories. We are dealing with children who have experienced trauma. But every adult we've interviewed, who is actively involved in the foster care system, even if they have had a difficult experience, wouldn’t go back if they had the choice.
Not every person should adopt or be a foster parent. It is not the right choice for everyone, but there are other ways to get involved. Perhaps your friend or neighbor opens their home to a foster child, you can take the classes with them. What if you became an official respite care provider? What if people entered the foster system as a community rather than alone?
There are an estimated 319 million adults in America and 415,000 children in foster care. That means that if .1% (that says point one, not one: point one, as in less than one) of adults in America chose to foster and another .1% rallied behind them and cheered them on, supported them, signed up for respite care or foster approved babysitting, then there wouldn't be any more children in foster care in America.
Did you hear us???
We are not saying everyone should foster…But if those who had the slightest bit of interest in fostering asked 3 of their best friends to walk with them through the training, through the trauma classes, through the fostering certification, then when things get hard for foster families they would have people supporting them…which would help prevent kids from moving home to home and provide a supportive and educated community around foster families.
Fear is a powerful force; it must be respected and battled all at the same time. But if we are going to fight, shouldn't we wage war for the most vulnerable children in our country? Let's battle together as community and start eliminating the stereotypes, misinformation...and excuses. Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”