A little over eight months ago I became a foster parent at the age of 28. When I started the fostering process I was nearly positive that I would end up fostering a younger child. A few weeks before submitting my final piece of paperwork I decided I would offer to foster teens as well. In all honesty, I didn’t think they would call me about a teen, but almost a month to the day after I received my license the call came saying they had a 14 year old boy who needed a placement. I decided to give it a try. We get along really well and he’s a great kid. I know people hear horror stories about teenagers in the system, but please know that just because a child is a teenager in foster care it does not automatically mean they are going to be difficult to deal with.
When you take a child into your home you are also accepting his past and family into your life as well. That looks different for each foster family, but it is part of the process for all of us. My foster son’s mother is currently unable to be the main caregiver for her son, but that does mean that she doesn’t love him and want what is best for him.
Today, my foster son, his mom, and I went to the fair together. We ate ice cream, rode on the rides, looked at animals, and spent time together, just like any other family would do. Families can come in all shapes and sizes, and we just happen to be a family that was brought together by an awesome kid who deserves every adult possible in his life that is available to care about him and help guide him. His mom and I bought bracelets. We took this picture, and my foster son put up the peace sign in it. I think it’s a great symbol of the fact that foster parents and birth parents can work in unison to raise a child. If you can put your differences and judgments aside and focus on what’s important, the child, it’s amazing what great things can happen.
photo credit: Nicole Henry