7 Key Reasons Why You Should Become a Foster Parent
In the United States, there are over 442,000 children in foster care. Children placed in a foster home are there because of some kind of maltreatment in their home. Since 2012, the number of children in the system keeps increasing year-over-year.
There is a growing need for foster homes to care for the increasing number of children being placed in the foster care system. Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Keep reading to discover seven reasons why you should.
1. Children Need Your Love
All children need love to grow and develop. It shapes them and influences their long-term personality. Love has a life-long effect.
Children in the foster care system have experienced trauma on multiple levels. Great foster parents can help begin the healing process. Love, affection, and security make all the difference.
Children that receive adequate love and attention experience things such as:
- Higher Self-Esteem
- Better Memory
- Emotional Intelligence
- Higher Academic Grades
- Increased Communication Skills
- Improved Social Skills
In fact, the brain of a child that receives enough love and support physically changes to protect them against stress. For optimal growth and happiness, children need both emotional and physical connections. Without exception, all children need secure attachments.
2. Change Future Generations — Break the Cycle of Abuse
Without intervention, children who have lived around abuse have a greater likelihood of continuing the cycle while raising their own children. An abusive upbringing leads to destructive circumstances like:
- Substance Abuse and Addiction
- Mental Health Problems
- Poverty and Lack
- Physical Abuse
As a foster care home, you have the chance to set a good example of what a stable, loving household is like. Healthy relationships and positive guidance from adults teach children how to do the same. In turn, they’ll use these lessons to raise their own children.
Breaking the cycle of abusive behavior benefits future generations and the world in general.
3. Consider It a Mission Field
Have you ever considered foster care as a mission field? Could your calling be caring for children?
Caring for children in need is a life-changing mission field. Children in foster care are hurting and have suffered abuse, abandonment, and neglect.
Show them the love of Christ and offer hope. Live out your faith with these little ones while you provide a safe home for them to live in.
4. Keep Siblings Together
Many times siblings get split up once they are placed into the foster care system. It’s often hard to find available homes for siblings in groups of three or more. This happens when there’s not enough space in the same home, nor enough homes in general, for these kids to stay together.
It’s sad enough that they have to experience the trauma of neglect. Separating them from each other makes it that much harder.
Becoming a foster parent that’s willing to take these larger family groups offers more options to keep siblings together. There is a great need in the system for sibling group care.
Another issue that often comes up is finding foster homes for older children. Please consider helping out in this area as well.
5. Caring for Children Keeps You Young
Let’s face it, kids keep a person young. The mindset and activities involved with raising children will keep you on your toes.
While playing increases creativity, an active lifestyle contributes to feeling younger. Both also lead to improved cognitive functioning. You’ll have a chance to sharpen your skills while helping with homework too.
6. Add Extra Meaning to Your Life
If you’re an empty-nester or couldn’t have children of your own, consider fostering a child to fill the gap. Many people don’t feel content after their own children are grown and moved out. Sharing your love with a child in need is a win-win for both parties.
Keep in mind that someday the children you care for may leave. We all know that saying goodbye isn’t easy.
But don’t let that discourage you. Knowing that you’ve planted seeds that will continue growing in the years ahead is a great reward.
If the children in your care get reunited with their parents, you’ll feel good knowing you had a part in that too. True family healing is the best outcome that we can hope for in situations like this.
7. Children Need a Family Atmosphere
There are group homes and other types of residential facilities for children needing care. However, while these options may provide structure and basic needs, they’re not the same as having a real family.
As mentioned earlier, children need both emotional and physical affection to thrive. They need attention, conversation, and hugs. Because of the nature of foster care facilities, these needs are not met in full.
A residential facility is better than nothing, but children do best in a loving family atmosphere. They yearn to feel what it’s like to safely belong in a family. Foster homes fill this need.
Are You Ready to Become a Foster Parent?
Caring for children experiencing the trauma of foster care is no small act. It takes patience, love, and sacrifice. But, in the end, it’s well worth it.
Your compassion will make a big difference in the life of an innocent child. In return, you’ll receive ten-fold blessings in your own life. Prayerfully consider the pros and cons of foster care.