The foster parents I know don't want the spotlight. They don't want to be known as saints or superheroes.
And the foster parents we work with? They don't want money. In Colorado, foster parents have to prove that they can get by without the stipend of 50 cents - $1 per hour (to cover the child's food, clothes, transportation, and extra needs).
What do foster parents want? They want to keep kids safe. They want to meet a kid's needs. They want enough energy and attention to focus on helping kids thrive and heal in their homes.
Because that's what parents do.
They want to make sure kids aren't left alone in a broken system.
They want to stand up and say, "Not on my watch." when the system forgets the child.
Because that's what parents do.
Want to hear straight from them? Come behind the scenes with me. As Foster Together gets in touch with foster parents around Colorado, we ask them to fill out a basic form. This gives us a clear look at what great stories need to be told in Colorado foster care.
When we ask, "What do you love most about being a foster parent?" they say:
- The sweet little guy we get to care for!
- Seeing children begin to thrive, and their parents grow.
- Providing love, safety and structure, one child at a time.
- Building a relationship with a child and their family. I feel like offering hope, stability, love, and concern to individuals who need it can make a world of difference.
When we ask, "What's the hardest thing about being a foster parent?" they say:
- Watching the system, in being overwhelmed, make poor choices with children's cases.
- Meal prep
- Finding time alone with each child.
- Court system
- Defiance and regression during stress.
- Not much time with my spouse
- Appointment pick-up and drop-off. (Most kids have therapy and visits with their parents multiple times each week.)
- He's been through trauma. I must meet him where he is not where I expect or wish him to be.
- Keeping up with appointments and housework.
Just like any loving parent, foster parents want to remove obstacles to a child's thriving. They want to be guides, comforters, safety-nets. Because that's what parents do. They know that kids need dedicated care and attention: from the regular, every-kid needs, to the unique requirements of foster care.
And just like any parent with special needs kids, they are exhausted. With the intensity of life at home (from PTSD symptoms to daily appointments), foster parents want a quiet evening to simply enjoy the kids, and let the kids know they're loved and valued. Because that's what parents do. When we share the load with them, they get to be foster parents: not just administrators, or frenzied drivers, or behavior interventionists, but nurturers of children.
Sending a meal is one easy way to give them that gift. Just as foster parents want to give the dedicated attention of regular parents, we can step in as we would for any friend welcoming a new baby or battling illness.
Because that's what neighbors do.
If you aren't a foster parent, but want to give the gift of a calm evening to a foster family, sponsor a meal now. It takes thirty seconds and you can choose your family type here: send a meal
40 meals sponsored. Will you be #41?