By Jon Sampson, Thornwell Foster Care Recruiter and Foster Parent
Foster Parents are Human, too
There is a strong belief that foster parents are these perfect, superhero-like people who have figured it all out. We’re here to tell you, that’s not completely true. Yes, foster parents are great people doing a great thing, but they’re not superhuman. They’re certainly not watching you from atop a pedestal. I should know; I am a foster and adoptive parent. Foster care isn’t a special thing that only special people can do. It’s an imperfect tool in an imperfect system full of imperfect people doing their best to serve children whose parents and guardians need a bit of help.
Attention and Affection = Love
Children in foster care don’t need perfect parents. They need present parents. According to The Children’s Defense Fund, a child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds in America—1,844 each day. A breakdown of South Carolina’s child maltreatment victims showed more than 40% of these children experience neglect, 35% experience physical abuse, nearly 3% experienced sexual abuse, and more than 20% endured a combination of all of these.
Often, children who are abused and/or neglected develop some heartbreaking mindsets: “I’m a bad kid who deserves this mistreatment.” “I’m worthless.” “Mom & Dad would be better off if I had never been born.” “No one cares about me.”
Friends, these children don’t need perfection. They need present. They need affection. They need love.
It's a Process, Not a Superpower
I’m far from a perfect parent to my foster children and my adoptive children. I make mistakes. I apologize. I constantly have to work on myself and my relationships with them. But I always make sure that they know they’re loved. That they know they have value. That they are wonderfully and perfectly imperfectly made. My job as their dad isn’t to be perfect. It’s to be with them as they walk through life and show them how to treat others with grace and humility.
Being a foster parent is more than just providing a roof and a bed. It’s providing a lasting relationship filled with love, support, and guidance to the village that we all live in.
Interested in Learning More?
Interested in learning more about Thornwell’s foster care licensing program? Click the button below. There you can find contact information and forms to get you started. We can’t wait to talk to you!