Why I chose to become a foster parent
On the heels of Kelli Higgins' "newborn" photo shoot of her 13-year-old son (who was adopted from foster care) going viral, it's important to understand why many women choose to become foster moms.
May is National Foster Care Month. With over 380,000 children in foster care in America on any given day, there is always a need for more foster parents.
The reasons these moms choose to open their hearts and homes to foster babies and children may surprise you. Discover unique stories from women across the country answering the big question: Why did you choose to become a foster parent?
To make a difference
While the toughest part of choosing to foster a child is to let the youngster go, the ability to make a positive impact on a foster child's life is a gift many parents wish to give kids in need. "I am a foster mom because I feel so blessed to be capable of taking care of my own children. I feel like I have to give back in gratitude for that gift," shares Alexandra Chauran.
To keep siblings together
AdoptUSKids reports research showing that siblings experience many emotional benefits with a lower risk for failed placements when placed together. Foster care makes opening your home to more than one foster child at a time a more likely possibility. "I was adopted, my father was adopted and I wanted to give other children the opportunity that any child should be given regardless of whether or not I had biological children of my own," shares Joanna of Ontario, California. "When we found out about Joseph, he had siblings and we wanted to try and keep them together — so we went the foster care route."
To utilize a more affordable route to adoption
Whether choosing to adopt abroad or stateside, the costs involved in adoption through a private agency can add up quickly. Although not all foster families adopt, for some, choosing foster care is a more affordable way for parents to reach their ultimate goal. "It was the most cost-effective option," explains Amy Wasserman. "Private adoptions are $20,000 to $30,000 whereas foster adoptions are almost free. I also love the fact that there is one less kid in the system."
Learn about the realities of adopting from foster care from a foster mom >>
"Foster care isn't a route for the faint of heart or someone who thinks simply opening your home is enough to cure the angst and trauma a child has been through," warns foster mom and adoptive parent Patricia W. Fischer, RN. "Expect good and bad days. Expect a child who needs encouragement to do simple things we all take for granted. But also expect a child who's a sponge for knowledge, who wants to please, who wants to belong and matter to someone. Expect love in the simplest form and expect to open your heart and mind to things you never thought a child would have seen, experienced or understood."
Regardless of the reason these women chose to become a foster parent, the most important thing to remember is that whether foster children are with you for a few days or for the rest of their lives, foster moms make a difference in the life of a foster child.