One of the neighborhood kids asked, “where’s __________?” curious about our foster daughter who had just transitioned out of our home. I said, “We are foster parents, do you know what that means?” His big brother jumped in, “It means they take care of kids who don’t have families.” I smiled and offered another perspective: “Kids who have families but need a safe place to be for a while.”
His perception is shared by a lot of people, but the truth is kids in foster care have families. They will always have biological families, even if they need to be removed for their safety for a season or for good. The emphasis of foster care is not on growing our own families, but about holding space for the restoration of biological families whenever possible.
In foster care, we talk a lot about growing in our understanding of the effects of trauma, growing in our patience, grace and compassion toward kids who have experienced hardship.
Can’t we allow that understanding to transform how we think about their families, too? Kids in foster care are a part of families who need support, encouragement, resources, and healing.
Our kids will always and forever - even if they’re adopted - have biological families, and our first priority should be to support healthy biological relationships in any way possible. Reunification when it is safe - which is not the same as “without risk” [and that can be uncomfortable] - is something to celebrate.
-Emily Alman, AGAPE Foster Mother