My family had the blessing and the heartache of fostering 3 children for 9 months. I will not pretend to be an expert but to share what I learned and what I know to be true, from God’s Word, as to why we have a responsibility to take care of little ones in need.
Not every counties foster care system is going to run the same but please take my tips from our experience: both good and bad.
- DOCUMENT EVERYTHING: And I mean EVERYTHING. Every conversation you have with your social worker, therapist, teacher, Dr., family member (if you are familiar with the foster child’s family in the community – this is more likely in small towns).
Jacob and I were really thrown into fostering without any training or knowledge and we learned a lot.
And one of the biggest mistakes we made was that we didn’t document EVERYTHING. In the middle of our fostering, our foster workers changed and all the sudden we were given completely different information. It was not only frustrating but damaging. Obviously I cannot go into details but please please please hear me – DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.
- Take pictures of the room(s) that the foster care worker approves for the children and what state it is in when they approve it.
- Be very clear what the laws are in your state concerning photographs of the foster children and social media. It was always suggested to me by other Mama’s to cover their little faces if a picture was going online. Whenever we foster in the future, if God will be so gracious to allow us, I probably would avoid posting pictures of the children.
- Be ready for practicing PATIENCE. These children are not our own and disciplining them is not up to you but the state. There is no spanking whatsoever. When we had our foster littles we had many many many time outs. For the older child we had there was a lot of missing out on fun activities.
- You have to have permission for things we take advantage of as parents. Example: Hair Cutting. This is left up to the biological parents to decide or the state. The bio parent(s) may give you full permission to do those things but in our cases, we had to get permission. Again – get these things in writing and document them.
- Include the foster children as they are your own. We had two children, very young, who automatically started calling us “Mommy” and “Daddy”. Our foster care worker told us this was natural and normal but it created tension between us and the biological mother. Looking back now I wish I had been more respectful of the bio mom’s wishes and not just followed everything the foster worker told us. Regardless of what the littles call you, we treated our foster babies as our own. We loved them and gave them just as much of ourselves as we did our own children.
- Which brings me to my next tip: SPEAK UP IN THE MEETINGS. Ask Questions! You are the foster family and need to be heard and communicate with the bio parents if it’s an option.
- SHOW GRACE AND KINDNESS. This is not something I did well. I was so overcome with the feelings of protecting these foster kids that I did not open myself up to the bio parents to show compassion or grace. If I could do it over, I would have not been closed off and cold to the parents but warm and Christ-like. I was able to apologize to our foster children’s bio mom. I was thankful for that opportunity but would have done it differently. We are not replacing these little one’s parents but standing in while they seek help, counseling, restitution, and sometimes face legal consequences for their actions.
- Gosh, I feel like I need to say it again: Ask Questions, Put things in writing, take photos of whats agreed on, and document everything!
- Show up to every scheduled appointment, meeting, and requirement for you to do as the foster parents. Make these things TOP TOP TOP priority.
- Be okay with not being in control. These children do not belong to you. This was a very hard lesson I had to work through. The ages of our foster children were the same ages all my miscarried children would have been if they had lived. This being my first go at fostering, I didn’t know how to handle it well, and my heart was weakened by my own past and desire for another child of my own. If we foster again, and we really want to, we will take a position of just stepping in for the parents and not attempting to BE the parents if that makes any sense.
I am sure there are SO many more lessons and tips but those are the ones that I have reflected on most.
CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE OPENING UP THEIR HOMES TO CHILDREN IN NEED
1. Deuteronomy 10:18
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,”
“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphans, plead for the widow.”
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
The Lord has made it perfectly clear that we are to provide for those in need. The widows and the orphans are brought up multiple times and foster children are temporary orphans.
Christian families should be opening their homes to these children; providing a safe, warm, and Godly environment for them while they’re going through such difficult times.
It’s not about how we will feel after the children leave but what we will have given them while they were with us.
There are over 400,000 children in the system and that is a lot of children in need.
A Christian family would seem to be a natural choice for foster care, for these reasons:
➣ foster care shows the love of Christ
➣ foster care supports and preserves families
➣ foster care can be a mission field within your own home
➣ foster care is pro-life
➣ foster care helps heal the brokenness of the world
➣ foster care is conducive to a saner, more stable society
The command to take care of the needy is not an option. We need to do our part.
If you have been praying about fostering, please know that God has already spoken on this issue. We are to be living sacrifices and put others before ourselves.
There are things to consider like the ages and genders of the children you may be taking in – especially if you have children of your one but trust the Spirit to bless you with discernment.
My Jacob and I are very open to fostering again but our hearts are set on adoption. We’d appreciate any prayers for our journey with this.