I always wanted to have a child. I figured one would be enough, as I’m from a small family and it seemed like plenty to manage anyway. And once I met my soul mate, I knew I’d only be able to convince him once. My husband loves kids, but also suffered from anxiety about his fitness to be a father.
When I made my first attempt to get the baby making started, he loudly protested, “I’m not ready!” To which I replied, “Well, you’ve got to let me nurture something!”
A week later I saw the ad recruiting foster parents. Fostering kids gave us a chance to practice our parenting and help the community at the same time. It was also a good fit because we had an extra bedroom and one of us works from home, allowing us the flexibility to attend appointments and do school runs. You know, like parents! That’s what became clear as we went through the 18 hours of training; the basic qualification you need to be a successful foster parent is just the willingness to be there physically and emotionally for children.
We chose to work with teenagers, in part because of my background teaching high school, and of course there are times when we question the sanity of that decision. It is such a tough time for all kids, let alone adding an unstable family situation into the mix! Most of the time, however, we can’t imagine life without a foster kid in the house. And there’s been more than one I was sad to see go when it was time for them to return home.
While becoming a foster parent is a fantastic way to help these kids in need, this May (and every month), there are many other ways you can help foster families and children. Offer free services of your talents, like haircuts, massage, or childcare. Sponsor a child to go to camp or a special event. Donate your gently used items. Our annual luggage drive helps give foster children dignity in their transition. Click here to learn more about foster care for Keiki in Maui.
Image Credit: Partners in Development Foundation