Why Do You Foster?

May is Foster Care Awareness Month. It’s a time to reflect on boys and girls in foster care and the families who open their hearts and homes to care for them. Local charity The Foster Alliance (“TFA”) is the largest provider of basic needs to the thousands of children in Arizona’s foster care system. Providing kids with a bed or a crib to lay down their heads at night, a “Safe Place to Sleep”, is our primary mission, and one we do extraordinarily well! We provided 2,908 beds and cribs in 2018 to give children a spot of refuge in a life filled with trauma and anxiety.

WHY Foster Parents Travel This Incredible Journey

As the first stop on many families foster journey, we see dozens of foster families every week. Many of these families are new to the foster experience, some are old pros. We decided to ask them a question, “Why Do You Foster?” Why would a family choose to open their doors to children in crisis? The hundreds of responses we received gave us an even greater sense of pride about lending these heroes our Helping Hands.

Many responses will be posted on our FACEBOOK page throughout the month of May, but here are a few to provide a little taste:

  • Theresa a foster parent for 10 years, fostering 30 children said, “I love kids, and want to help families.”
  • Carol, a newer foster mom told us, “I want to provide a safe and loving environment for children while their biological parents get back on track, hoping they can again take care of the kids.”
  • Nyoka says, “I fostered my grandsons. I felt the need to step in to become their caregiver. I proceeded to adopt them. I’m a mom of many titles, mom, grandma, etc.”
  • From Kris, “I was adopted and always wanted to adopt a child. Being a single mom to 4, I couldn’t afford to adopt so I decided to spread my love to kids in foster care.”

Foster moms and dads show human kindness in a way that’s difficult for many to comprehend.

That is until you look into the eyes of a child who has been abused or neglected. A child who reaches out for love and affection. With the trauma these children have experienced from ignorant adults, it’s got to be difficult to open yourselves to others, the fear of additional hurt must be terrifying. But when the connection is made, when the hours are put in, when the doors break down, wonderful results can occur, all because a foster parent opened themselves up to the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the fear of separation, all for the chance that a child will know love and safety.

Tera, says that “I want to give a child a chance to be a child. Without the worry of who is caring for them, where they will stay or when their next meal may be. I like knowing that I made a difference in the life of a child, and having them know I genuinely want the best for them.”

Connie has fostered 138 children in her lifetime. She told us, “We became foster parents in 1985 to make a difference in the lives of children. We have 6 bio-kids. We have contact with 30 children who spent time in our home. We now have our 3 week old grandson in our care and will love and nurture him while his parents receive services with the hope of reunification.”

And finally, Suzanne who has fostered 11 “I foster to give kids a safe place to land. I give parents a cheerleader and advocate in their corner. I hope to see children reunified with their bio-parents. I foster to be the change in this world – I love kids and want each day with me to bring them peace and stability. I foster because I can – and If not me, then who?”

This is WHY foster parents travel this incredible journey. The children who they love, support and keep safe are WHY The Foster Alliance exists. By standing together and supporting the family, we have a chance with children whose destiny without the foster system is incredibly horrible to imagine.

To connect with The Foster Alliance and learn how you can Stand Up and Make a Difference for boys and girls in foster care, contact dreamcatcher@azhelpinghands.org. Everyone Can Do Something!

Dan Shufelt is the President & CEO of The Foster Alliance, the largest provider of basic needs to Arizona’s children in foster care. Learn more about the Organization atwww.azhelpinghands.org and contact Dan at dshufelt@azhelpinghands.org.

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As long drugs, alcohol, abuse and neglect persist, there will be a need for foster care. Whether you need a hand or want to lend one, get in touch. Together we can make a difference.