"Abby's Message" is written from the perspective of a teenager whose family decided to step boldly into the world of foster care.
Recently I interviewed a family about their foster care experience. They are a family with older kids of their own, similar to my parents, and younger foster kids. It was interesting to hear them talk about how helpful it has been having older kids to help in fostering and how cool it was to see their kids find purpose in foster care and serving in that way. They explained to me that the need for foster families encouraged them to become licensed and begin fostering younger children. One challenge that they faced that was unexpected in fostering, was keeping up with renewing their license and handling things with the system. Keeping up with all the requirements and attempting to contact people can sometimes be a challenge. Another thing I discussed with them was how a younger person who is not a part of a family that fosters but still wants to serve in that community can. They immediately responded with becoming certified for respite care as a babysitter. There is a huge need for not only foster families, but people to help foster families with child care and support. Even just supporting and encouraging a foster family through their adjusting to a new placement or dealing with challenges can mean so much. This leads to the last question I asked them. What advice would you give a family that has never fostered before but is considering it? They simply but meaningfully answered with, “Do it.” They explained that there is such a need for it and if you know your “why” for doing it, then to go for it. I found this extremely encouraging in the fact that we often overthink decisions and we can forget the value in them and why we wanted to do them in the first place. I left this interview with them feeling a renewed sense of excitement to become involved in foster care again.