The Need for Foster Parents
Written by Kayla Stavinoha
Being a foster parent is by far one of the most challenging and rewarding things a person can do. You open up your heart and home to kids who need it most and offer them a little stability. It could be months, weeks, or just overnight but when your job is done, it’s done. The child is reunited with their family, has a court date, or is placed with another family.
While I was in law school I became a foster parent. One day I received a call from the police station asking if I could take in three kids. I wasn’t given much information other than their court date was scheduled the next day. The kids, ages 1, 4, and 6 came home with me around 2 p.m. and were gone by 10 a.m. In this short window, I got a glimpse of what these kids were going through. A lot of their actions and behaviors were trauma responses and it hurt me to know that. I did what I could to make them comfortable, but I acknowledge there was only so much I could do in a night. And the next day they were gone. When I asked for an update on the kids I was told I wasn’t part of the case and therefore could not be given any information. This is standard. I still don’t know what happened to them, but I can only hope whatever action was taken was in their best interest.
As you prepare to become a foster parent you may think about all the ways you’ll support and provide a loving home to these kids during a tumultuous time in their lives. And you should, but you must also remember their parents. In most cases the parents have made a bad choice or need help with an area in their life and so they are not able to provide care and stability for their kids. These parents love their kids and want their kids back, and these kids love their parents, but the parents just need a little time. While the kids are in your care it is important that you support the relationship with their parents. At the end of the day, being a foster parent isn’t permanent – it’s about reunification.
Being a foster parent is no easy feat. In fact it’s hard, and any foster parent will tell you that. But you do the hard thing to enhance the lives of these kids.
Not every ending is a happy one either – prepare yourself and remind yourself that these kids are just that, kids. And they need a little love, stability and grace.
In 2020, an estimated 407,000 children were in foster care throughout the US. In Kansas, 6,428 kids were in foster care as of April 2022, according to the Kansas Department for Children and Families. Right here in the Wichita region there were 1,689 kids in foster care.
If you want more information on becoming a foster parent, please feel free to reach out to our team and we can provide the necessary resources to get you started.