7 Things Foster Parents Have Taught Me
By Sarah Bailey
I have worked for Kids Crossing for almost five years now. Prior to being here I worked in a completely unrelated field and knew nothing about the world of foster care. In the short time I have worked in this field, I have learned a great deal from the foster families that I have come to know.
I have learned:
- Patience: Foster families work with a wide variety of children and professionals. They have numerous people coming into their lives and homes every month. Our families show an enormous amount of patience with everyone, especially the children placed with them.
- Unconditional Love: Foster families know what true unconditional love looks like. Our foster families get yelled at, their homes get destroyed, and they get told on a regular basis “you are not my mother and cannot tell me what to do,” but they turn around and show the child in their home that he or she is loved and cared for. Our foster families realize that the child’s behaviors and outbursts have nothing to do with the foster parent, but have everything to do with the trauma that child has endured.
- Flexibility: Our foster families demonstrate an immense amount of flexibility. Every child in their home typically has visitation, medical appointments, therapy appointments and home visits from numerous professionals. Our families know that things for every case change, and they roll with the changes and make it all work.
- Empathy: Every child that comes into a foster home has a story and for the most part that child has experienced things that the foster parents haven’t. Our families show great empathy for these children. They are sensitive to everything that the child has gone through.
- Acceptance: Our families have children from various cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds that are placed in their homes. The foster families strive to make that child feel safe, secure and accepted while that child lives in their home. Families have cooked special meals, attended certain religious services or simply researched a type of religion to ensure that a child felt accepted in their home.
- Organization: Our foster families have to be extremely organized. They have to maintain documentation for each child in their home, some of which has to be completed daily. They also have to manage everyone’s schedules to ensure that every child in their home gets to his or her visitation, therapy appointments, medical appointments and school activities. On a regular basis our families have to be in communication with several different professionals working with the children in their home.
- Advocacy: Our families are some of the strongest advocates that the children in their homes will ever have. They advocate for the children to receive support services in school, therapeutic services, emancipation services and any health-related appointment that they may need. Our families fight to ensure the needs of the children in their home are met.
These are just seven of the many things I have learned from the foster families that I have come to know. For all the foster families out there, we appreciate all that you do for the children who you bring into your home and everything that you teach those around you!
Kids Crossing is a child placement agency that was founded by foster parents in 1992. They have offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Pueblo. Kids Crossing's mission is to strengthen families so they may provide the best care to those children entrusted to them. To learn more please visit kidscrossing.com or call Sarah Bailey at 719-667-7046.