This post is sponsored. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
When you start out on your foster care journey there are a lot of unknowns. Your main expectation is that you will impact a child’s life and they will impact yours. However, I discovered that there were several unexpected ways my life was impacted for good by becoming a foster parent.
Our foster care journey began in December of 2015. After a conversation with another foster mom, who bravely shared her story, my husband and I were both on board with finally pulling the trigger and getting our foster care license.
I literally had no idea where to start! Thankfully, a google search bar and a great Facebook Group for foster parents pointed us in the right direction and we connected with a local foster agency that was more than willing to answer our questions.
If you are in the Dallas, TX area, I highly recommend Hope Cottage as a starting point for your foster care and adoption journey! They can answer any questions you may have and help you get started with the first steps you will need to take.
Now here we are, years later and I am sharing this post with you to point out the unexpected ways my life was impacted for good by becoming a foster parent.
Of course, our three beautiful adopted children are the best blessing, but looking back, I can now see that so much unexpected good came from our time as foster parents.
These are some of the unexpected the ways our life was impacted by foster care:
Awareness for others and our community.
The situations that bring children into foster care are not always violent. Many times the parents of the children in foster care have been through such hard things that I could never fathom and lack the resources that we have been so blessed with.
It quickly became obvious that our community and society could change the narrative of so many families with more support and resources.
This inspired me to find more ways to become involved in our community. To be a voice when it comes to supporting resources and systems that help keep children out of foster care in the first place. This starts with our community and doing our part (whether big or small) to help and support families before CPS ever needs to be involved.
A depth of appreciation for those who serve children
Social workers are some of the most under-appreciated and under-paid people. Right next to teachers, they serve and give in ways that go above and beyond the time-clock.
Navigating situations where children, families, and lots of emotion is involved is not easy. They show up for the children, support the parents, and advocate for families both foster and biological.
If you are considering becoming a foster parent the first thing I will recommend is finding a great agency to work with that empowers and supports their social workers.
Agencies like Hope Cottage are one of those agencies that go above and beyond for their foster families. Their social workers work hard to support their foster children and families. Just visit their website to see the amazing resources they offer their families.
Hope Cottage is currently celebrating their 102 year anniversary with a 2020 Donation Campaign with a goal of raising $200,000 to be invested directly into all of their programs including those serving foster children and foster families.
I love supporting non-profit agencies whose mission is to ensure the future of children and families through foster care, adoption, and pregnancy support. Click here to donate now and support them in their mission to strengthen communities and families.
New life-long friends
The community of foster families has been one of the most open, embracing, and supportive communities I have ever found. The moment another foster mom and I meet there is an instant bond. The exchange of stories, empathy, support, and phone numbers for texting at any time is readily given.
I have made some really amazing friends through the foster care system. And they continue to be a wealth of love, information, and support through the years.
A better understanding of parents of children with special needs
While I did have biological children when I became a foster parent, I had no idea what it was like to parent a child with special needs.
I am ashamed to admit my ignorance and lack of understanding for families with special needs kids. I was often too quick to judge and slow to offer support.
Many children who are in the foster care system have special needs ranging from ADHD to Autism to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These children are not broken. They are some of the most beautiful children I have ever met. And the parents who have willingly opened their home to these children deserve all the love and support we can provide.
Discovered new strength in myself.
You already know that I won’t lie and tell you that being a foster parent was not hard.
It is hard.
It takes commitment.
It is a sacrifice.
But, let me tell you, sitting up at midnight with two tiny infants, coaxing them to eat their bottles, rocking them to sleep, soothing their night terrors, and deep-breathing about their unknown future taught me that I was stronger than I knew.
I look back at how I grew as a mother during our time as a foster family and I am amazed at how I grew. My heart expanded to depths I didn’t know it could and my experience as a mother of children I did not birth gave me a perspective I would never have gained any other way.
I am forever grateful for the experience as a foster mom that shaped me into the mother and the strong woman that I am today.
Foster Care impacted me in so many ways. I know that if you are on the fence about opening your heart and home you are wondering how it will impact your life.
There are no guarantees. Every story is different. Each foster child is unique. Every journey takes its own winding path.
But I can confidently say that it was worth it and the unexpected ways your life will be impacted will surprise you and will be something you will cherish forever.