Welcome to the series “You did it to me” where we will be discussing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. This will be a twice a month series from March to September 2015. We hope you enjoy!
One of the tangible ways you can exercise this work of mercy is to open the doors of your home to foster children.
While many people consider this possibility, more often than not it is an idea that is fraught with fear and uncertainty.
Foster children are homeless children in need of a home. They have been removed from their parents, usually for a good reason, and placed in the homes of, frequently, strangers. Ideally, they are placed with people who are known to them, but in some populations, there are no friends or family members who are able to pass a background check or safely care for their loved ones. Or they are simply not able or willing.
Out of the mouths of babes, I thought I’d share what my thirteen year old Wolfgang has to say about this subject.
Q: Why should families consider becoming foster families?
A: “I’m still getting the juices flowing. I just woke up.” (laughing) “You could think of it this way. Pretend you could not care for your children and you needed someone to care for them. Would you not want them to be cared for by a considerate and loving family?”
Q: What has been your favorite part of being a foster family?
A: “Spending time with everyone. Making them feel loved. It sounds kind of mushy, but when you look at it, a lot of these children come from backgrounds where they’ve been neglected and mistreated. J, D, and K really stand out. I just really love them.”
Q: What has been the hardest part of being a foster family?
A: “Keeping the babies from climbing on [our medically fragile foster/adopted son] J. Seriously though, I can be kind of stubborn at times, so to morph to meet some other needs can be taxing.”
Q: Is it hard to say goodbye to children when they move out? Don’t you get attached?
A: “Yes, it is hard. But in the same vein, when you become attached to the child, you form a stronger bond with them and care for them more than you would have when you just hear about them on a phone call. So, while it is hard to say goodbye, and you may not think of it as the best in the long run, you form a stronger relationship with the child. Yes, it is hard to say goodbye. But you want them to have good memories of love and affection and care that they would not have otherwise had if you just sat them down with a cup of water and showed them where the bathroom is. Foster children are humans, whether people think so or not. They live and they breathe and they need love!”
Q: “Is it hard to share your mom and dad?”
A: “For me, not very much.”
Q: Thank you for your interview, son.
A: “Thank you! I was honored.”
Consider opening your home to homeless children today. An application can be found on your state’s Department or Office of Children’s Services. In our state, an independent organization provides training and support for foster parents, and this enables prospective parents to get unbiased information. You may want to call your local department and find out if any resources like that in your state exist. Get involved, up close and personal, in the lives of these precious children.
*Want more information on how to get started fostering children? Click here for a link to your state’s requirements.
Mindy Goorchenko lives in Eagle River, Alaska with her husband and seven children, as well as foster children who may be living with them at any given time. Her favorite subjects to write about are Catholicism, adoption, foster care, and parenting.