Dear Church Family,
Foster Care is something that is very dear to my heart. It’s something that has been a very big part of my life for the last 28years. It has not been an easy journey or one that was without its challenges but the rewards and blessings I have received are immeasurable.
The journey for my husband and I to become parents was a long one but we felt we had the capacity to care for some children in this period of our lives. Fostering was a difficult decision to make as we wondered how we would cope when the child or children we had in our care left us.
I distinctly remember the first child we had – an 11 year old girl – she was brought to our home along with her few possessions, which included a bike. Almost as soon as the foster care worker had left, this girl got on her bike and rode off down the street – Peter and I looked at each other and thought – okay what do we do now, this is the first time we have had a child in our care and she has just ridden away. I am pleased to say she had only gone around the block and was soon back again.
On our foster care journey, the Church family have played a big part in our adventure as carers. We would often turn up at our home group or church with new little ones. These children were accepted as part of our family for however long they were with us. Peter would often be away with his job, so I was often on my own with our children and these little blessings. While I didn’t always need help, I knew there were people in my Church family ready to help at any time.
Many people have said – “I could never be a carer, I wouldn’t be able to give the child back to family or to another carer…..” My answer to them would be – get alongside a family who you know foster. Be there to support them in the good times and their struggles. Drop a meal to them, be there to chat to them, get to know the children even if they are only there for a short time.
Even when our own children came along, we continued to foster, so our children grew up with children coming and going. Some of these children would arrive without much warning, with very little clothing or belongings, and with some behavioural challenges.
Looking back, as our children grew, I feel fostering was a great thing to be involved in as a family. They helped with the process of the children settling into our home. When asking my now adult children did they ever feel neglected or disadvantaged in any way having to share their Mum with these other children – they have both said no. If anything it helped to give them have an empathy for others, especially these children, who didn’t have what they had, be it either stability, boundaries or material possessions.
Unfortunately, there is such a great need for more people to take the challenge and become foster carers. True, the children coming into care can have complex needs and varying family scenarios. Please prayerfully consider how you can help – talk to someone you know who is on this journey, go to an information night, find out as much as possible what is involved – and see if this is what God is leading you into.