Most people automatically condemn the parents of children in foster care. The assumption is made that the parents must be “bad” people is their children are in foster care. Having been a foster parent for almost five years I want to set the record straight about foster children parents.
In most cases parents of foster children are good people that just need some proper guidance. Many did not have good parent role models themselves and do not know how to parent. Sometimes drugs and alcohol are involved, but again if many of these parents had a good support system they can make great strides in turning their situation around.
The first foster child we had in our home was for a temporary 30 day time. He was a very angry young man who needed more help than we could give him. He came into care from his father’s home and much of his anger was against his dad. His mother worked hard to get custody of her child, and I am proud to say the two were finally reunited.
Our next attempt at fostering was to a sibling group of 3. These children were in our home for 10 months. During this time frame we got to know their dad. They came into care while their dad was serving time in jail. He had tried to do the right thing for his children and left them with someone he thought he could trust, unfortunately that person did not turn out to be the kind of person he thought. When the children were given to DFCS the woman said she did not have a clue where the dad was. This man worked hard on his case plan and did everything he could to get his children back. I am glad to say he was very successful.
The next teenager we had in our home for 6 months, I am sad to say, is still in foster care. His mom is not a bad person, but she was only 14 when she had him. She did not have a childhood of her own and has demons that she is facing daily. She loves her son very much but just does not know how to stay focused and out of trouble. If she could get the help she needs I believe she was be a great mom!
Currently we have a sibling set of two whose mom is very young. She gave birth to to first child when she was 16. She also loves her children very much, and wants her children back, and I will do everything I can to encourage her to keep trying to reunite with her children. She, too, has not received some of the best parenting support. Without a high school education it will be hard for her to find a job in this day and time, something she must have for her case plan. My prayer for her, regardless of the outcome between her, DFCS and her children, is that she can become a self sufficient , productive young lady.
Last, and most close to my heart, is the mom of the little boy in my home. We have just completed the adoption of this child. He has been in foster care almost two years. His mother loves him tremendously. She, however, gave birth to her first child when she was 14, her second when she was 18, her third when she was 20, and her 4th when she was 22. The last child she lost to SIDS when he was 6 months old. I can not even begin to imagine the pain she felt losing her son. She has struggled to raise her children. The men that have been in her life have not been the most supportive. My little boy came into care from his father’s home. The dad gave up trying to get his son back after 6 months. Mom lived in another state and really tried hard, but could not keep a job, and housing. She loves her son so much that she allowed DFCS to Terminate her Parental rights making it possible for us to adopt him. The right thing for this little boy is for him to stay in touch with his sisters and I plan for that to happen.
There are children in foster care whose parents are not fit to be parents. You hear stories on the news all the time, but I beseech you to not judge all parents of foster children the same. If given the opportunity please open your hearts and share advise with these parents. Mentor them, help them become safe wonder family units, the way God intended. With our help we can stop the vicious cycle of adults that were in foster care themselves, having their own children enter the foster care system.