Today we are talking about foster care.
I reached out to Jenn Larkin, Salt Lake Region’s Foster Mother of the Year. I asked her if she would tell us what she wished people knew about foster care.
Jenn is the real deal. A foster mother herself and an amazing advocate, I was delighted to read about her in the Foster Roster (Utah Foster Care’s newsletter). I love the quote they featured in the newsletter.
I’m just grateful–every day–that we pushed through the doubts about whether we could do this, whether or not we could risk becoming attached and having to let go… I’m so glad we persevered because we have been exactly where we needed to be, at exactly the right time for our family!
So, with that introduction, I now give you The Foster Care Mom of the Year telling us what she wishes people knew about foster care:
The thoughts running through my mind are many. There is just SO much! Of course I want everyone to know the statistics (in Utah there are 2600 children in care and not nearly enough foster families to support them). I also want to bust some myths and tell them that these are NOT bad kids, just children in bad situations. They need a safe place to call home while their family is repaired. And sometimes, they need a forever family that will love them unconditionally for the rest of their lives. I think what I want people to understand most is that THEY CAN DO THIS! Through years of serving as a Foster Parent Ambassador, the comment I get the most is “I couldn’t do that.” There are MANY reasons why people say they can’t be foster parents. They don’t want to get attached, they couldn’t deal with those kind of parents…. Well, I rebuttal.
YES, YOU CAN! If you have ever given money to a homeless stranger, helped a neighbor carry in their groceries, served in a church calling or helped in a teachers classroom, you can do this. Why? Because you care. If you have ever helped a less fortunate family with Christmas, assisted an elderly woman across the street, or donated food to your local food bank, you can do this. Why? Because you care. The only “extra” you need is a caring heart. You care about what is taking place in the world around you. You care about the society that your children will be growing up in. That is the kind of caring heart you need to be a foster parent.
You may have to say goodbye to someone you end up falling in love with, and if thats the case, you are doing the job perfectly. You loved with all your heart. You let your guard down and you let that child in. By doing this, you may have given him just enough that he won’t participate in the next gang shooting. He will recognize that he was loved…. and he will become more. Isn’t it amazing that you can change a life by doing nothing more than showing love?!?
Why do I love being a foster parent? Because it has changed my life insurmountably. I cannot tell you all the benefits of doing this because there are SO many! Every one of my children is a product of foster care, and every one of them is PERFECT! They have grown because of love. Foster care changes lives… but not just theirs. It will change yours more than you can imagine.
Thank you so much, Jenn! You are an inspiration!