Friday, May 01, 2015

national foster care month


May is National Foster Care Month. foster care is not something you really know about unless you are somehow connected to that world. because of that, a lot of people believe myths about foster care that just aren't true. that's what this month is for, to raise awareness, educate people about foster care & the needs that exist, and explain how you can help. it is also a time when the president recommits to helping these children.

most people want to adopt newborns, so there are many kids available for adoption through foster care that are never adopted. in South Carolina there are around 1,200 kids available for adoption in foster care. 1,200 is not a large number. i am sure there are at least 1,200 churches in our state, which means that if 1 family from each church adopted a child, there would be no waiting children in foster care in SC.

to me, that is both sad yet hopeful. sad because we as the church aren't doing this... but hopeful because it is attainable. hopeful because if a few hearts are changed, thousands of lives can be changed as well. hopeful because as more people learn about foster care, their hearts may long to adopt these waiting children. or their hearts may long to become foster parents and advocate for the reunification of families. 


i don't have a personal connection to foster care other than the fact that Thomas & i are prayerfully considering becoming foster parents in the future. adoption has always been #1 on our radar, but i never considered foster care until recently. we are not at a stage in life where we are ready to be parents, but we know that it is only a few years down the road. so we are researching and praying now about adoption and through that is how we are learning more & more about foster care.

the fact of the matter is that losing someone you care about is hard. i get attached to people easily & i am terrible at goodbyes so i have always kind of thought that foster care was something i just couldn't do. but i'm finding that God is changing my heart. it will still be super hard, but families reuniting & being able to stay together is a beautiful thing. it is how the created design was meant to be. and that is a thing worth advocating for.

with foster care, reunification is always the goal. the needs of the children are priority and they may not need to be in your forever family. i know it has got to be heartbreaking to let a child go, but being a part of the reunification of a family makes it worth it. as sad as it has got to be to let a child go, it is sadder still to not help them when i can. i know not everyone is called to be a foster parent, so that is not a blanket statement, just a conviction that i have personally. 

God designed families to be together. foster care and adoption only happen because there has been an upset with the created design. foster care and adoption are only needed after terrible loss, trauma, and heartbreak. therefore, adoption is sometimes the best alternative if reunification is not possible or is not the best situation for the child. but adoption is not the way it was created to be. adoption is a result of tragedy. so when you let go of a foster child and they are reunited with their birth family... that is beautiful. if adoption isn't needed, that is worth rejoicing in. 


- there are upwards of 400,000 children in foster care in the United States
- there are upwards of 100,000 children available for adoption from foster care right now
- most children enter foster care around age 2
- 20% of children in foster care wait 5 years or more for adoption
- the median age of children in foster care is 8
- over 50% of children in foster care are over the age of 10
- around 70% of children in foster care have siblings in foster care
- there are not enough foster parents to foster children in the system
- there are not enough adoptive parents willing to adopt these older children
- lots of adults talk about adopting, but only around 2% actually end up adopting a child
- children age out of foster care at age 18 (or 21 in some states) with little resources & no support
- every year around 23,000 children age out of the system


pray for the children, birth families & foster families that are involved in foster care.
pray about becoming a foster parent yourself
become a safe family for children or a foster family
give or donate supplies to local organizations
stay informed about foster care
volunteer to tutor or mentor children
read about real life stories to gain a better awareness
recognize community leaders in your community
become an advocate for foster children & their families
know the statistics of your specific state & the faces of the waiting children in your state



A FEW RESOURCE WEBSITES
www.childwelfare.gov
www.acf.hhs.gov
www.adoptuskids.org
www.nfpaonline.org
www.nationalfostercare.org
www.icareaboutorphans.org


18 comments:

  1. Wow! This is so interesting! I had no idea Robyn! Thanks for sharing! Excited to hear more in the future if/when you pursue foster care!

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  2. What an informative post - thank you for sharing your heart!

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  3. "...foster care and adoption are only needed after terrible loss, trauma, and heartbreak. ... but adoption is not the way it was created to be. adoption is a result of tragedy."

    Thank you for openly recognizing this! I was adopted at birth (not through the foster care system) and it has been a difficult, permanent part of my life even though I was adopted into a wonderful, loving home. People have a hard time understanding why anyone like me (with such a wonderful, seemingly-perfect story) would have any emotional issues or not just "be thankful", etc, etc... I am thankful, but it is so much more complicated than that. I am a happy, well-adjusted adult from a good home and good life, but still have questions. I guess I'm just trying to say, thank you for recognizing that there are issues and that just because adoption is complete does not mean that all has been solved and everything is just rainbows and unicorns; there is no "before" and "after," these separate parts of life overlap. It takes lots of love and patience and prayer, but it will be beautiful and rewarding to create a family of such devastating circumstances. And now I've written a novel, but feel free to reach out to me if you ever have any questions or would like to hear an adoptee's perspective.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this great information. I feel like much of my 'knowledge' about foster care comes from movies or TV, which I fully realize is glamorized or exaggerated, so I am glad to read some real info about it :)

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  5. I think it's great that you are considering foster care, even though it scares you. It's cool to see God changing people's hearts, and it's awesome that you guys are open to it! Thanks for sharing about this important issue. I have a friend who has taken 3 foster children now, and 2 of them have since been adopted by her. It's really sacrificial and inspiring.

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  6. Shelley StursmaMay 1, 2015 at 9:40 PM

    You have to start reading Heart Cries (www.rebekahpinchback.blogspot.com)--A great blog about open adoption and fostering to adopt. I have friends who currently foster and love it! Praying for both of you as you figure out what your next steps look like!

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  7. Such an important message! Thanks for sharing and getting the word out about foster care. I have nephews that were adopted through foster care. They are such a blessing and I cannot imagine our family without the darlings!


    It's wonderful that you are considering this. :)

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  8. Um.... YES YES YES and YES!!! I love this post for so many reasons! I love your vulnerability in sharing your heart, and I LOVE how you include practical ways at the end to be involved! This is something I struggle with as I know it's on my heart to foster/adopt but not for the next few years. I too NEVER thought I would foster and within the last year the Lord has definitely changed my heart... the reunification of a family would be worth the pain that the separation brings. Thank you also for posting that list of myths... they are all things that I have thought of at one point or another and I wish everyone understood the truth that is in that article!

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  9. this post is an amazing resource, and i am so inspired by your transparency and heart for what Jesus has in store...i've always felt like it would be too hard to open our home and then have to say goodbye, but you're right--God loves families and he knows the best way to create a loving family for the child. you're amazing, robyn.

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  10. thanks so much Caroline! :) it'll be an interesting journey!

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  11. thanks Callie! i am amazed at how much i'm learning that i didn't know before & love to share with others!

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  12. Emily! thank you so much for sharing a part of your story!! you are so right - it's very complicated and even though you love your life... there are still issues that you have to deal with! it's the part that isn't seen or talked about... but it's very much real!
    no worries about the "novel" - i do that in comments a lot too! :) i will definitely contact you with questions that come up! thank you!!

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  13. thanks Veronica! i felt the same way... and the TV normally just talks about the rare cases or the good parts... but not the whole picture!

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  14. wow that is awesome! :) it's cool how God leads different people to different things! we are still 100% wanting to adopt, but through that have been led to foster care as well!

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  15. thanks Shelley! i will definitely check out that blog!! and thank you for the prayers! :)

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  16. that is so neat! i love hearing all of the different ways that families are created! it's really cool! :)

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  17. i'm glad we are on the same road! :) it's nice to have people who can relate! it is so neat how He changes peoples hearts over time & gives us the strength to chase those dreams!

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  18. thanks Julie! that's exactly how i felt too & it is hard! foster care isn't for everyone definitely, but it can be a beautiful thing! :)

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