Passionate About Fort Worth
and the Moms Who Live Here

The Adventure of Foster Care

Overlooking my patio is a wooden bird feeder where many birds perch while enjoying the seeds. I like to watch the adult birds teach their young how to use it. Lately, a huge crow visits, scaring all the birds and taking more than his fair share. I can tell he has arrived because the mockingbird screeches to alert others of the danger, and swoops toward the crow until he retreats.

The mockingbird has been a great protector and defender of the feeder.

I sometimes think of foster moms and how similar they are to the mockingbird. We defend, protect, and lovingly meet our children’s needs. We use our voice to advocate for foster children to caseworkers, lawyers, and CASA volunteers, to name a few.

I’m not sure I swoop . . . but I do like to eat sunflower seeds.

toddler girlWhy I Became a Foster Mom

My heart for kids. I love kids! Children are so honest and genuine. I love to see their eyes light up as they discover the world. Because I was a sensitive, anxious child, I can empathize with kids that need to feel safe, loved, and at ease.

My faith. I love because I was first loved by God. One of the best ways to demonstrate my love and gratitude toward my Creator is to love, cherish, and protect the vulnerable children He created.

The opportunity to change a life. You are entrusted with an amazing opportunity to love, protect, and parent a child. For many foster children, drug exposure, physical abuse, or neglect were their normal. As a foster mom, you get the chance to show them how different life can be. You can offer hope.

I love being a foster mom, but there are some common stereotypes about fostering that I really don’t love; in fact, they make me want to scream, lecture, or eat a bowl of ice cream.

Stereotypes That Need To Be Dismantled

I’m doing it for the money. Not even close. While foster parents do get reimbursed a small amount for the extra expenses that adding a child can bring, many months this equals less than what we spend to care for them. Guess what? I can think of a million ways to earn money that isn’t 24/7. Foster parenting isn’t a job; it’s a calling, a passion, and a sacrifice on behalf of vulnerable children.

I’m a saint or super mom. I do not have a cape or some secret super power. Have you seen the inside of my car? I’m a regular person, and I fail daily. I do not have a heart of steel that can love them and lose them without pain. I choose to bring a child into my home, love him or her, and risk that child leaving. Our hearts break, and we get attached, but that’s exactly what a child needs — love and attachment. I rely on God to comfort me as I grieve. Fostering is about giving to your family and less about getting your needs met by getting a child.

Foster kids are problem children. People like to tell stories about a foster child that did horrible things or acted crazy, or ask “What’s his or her story” concerning your foster child. This is not okay. Yes, many foster children come with challenges, including developmental delays or negative-learned behaviors, but that doesn’t make them a “problem child.” It also doesn’t mean that his or her story becomes public knowledge. They are precious children often in need of help and healing.

foster care will changeWhy Consider Becoming a Foster Mom?

The need is great. There is an enormous need for foster homes. Children are removed from their homes daily, but a shortage of local foster homes can result in moving them hundreds of miles away, placed in a shelter, or sleeping in a CPS office. This happens when local foster homes are full. They need you! Here’s a list of agencies to get started.

It’s an affordable way to grow your family. Private adoptions are expensive, but when a child becomes adoptable through foster care, the cost is significantly lower (on average the cost is $1200-$2000). There are many benefits to adopting out of foster care too! In the state of Texas, all foster children automatically qualify for paid college tuition to any state college. Pretty great, right?!

It’s an adventure. While protecting, loving, and serving these children, you get the chance to meet so many people who want to help. In some cases, you will have the opportunity (if you choose) to meet the child’s biological parents — many who love their kids, but have made bad decisions. What a great opportunity to mentor or encourage a hurting family that otherwise you wouldn’t have met. I promise being a foster mom is never boring!

Christi HightowerOriginally from East Texas, Christi has lived in the DFW area for 7 years. She has been married to Kevin for 17 years, and they have two boys ages 10 and 12. She is a SAHM, foster mom, homeschool mom, and interior designer who traded designing for finger painting and math facts. She sketches out thoughts on faith, family, and foster care with a smile at Majestically Messy. She is a night owl who enjoys reading, loves a good paint color, and dreams of children that sleep late. You can follow her on Facebook.

 

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One Response to The Adventure of Foster Care

  1. Linda Marshall May 31, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Wonderful! Very informative too!

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