There is something so fascinating about a child’s willingness and determination to grow. Do you remember watching a child take their first steps? Before a child can think about walking, they have to crawl…
We gotta start somewhere. Even if it seems small, little things eventually become much.
Take the mustard seed for example. “It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32).
Yes, it starts with the little things. A small seed can have a major impact.
At Explore Foster Miami, our mission is to explore, connect, and mobilize for children and families. And it starts with demystifying the foster care system, so that anyone can step up and say “yes” to bringing support to a child and family in need. The Webster Dictionary defines “stepping up” perfectly. It means “to come forward.” Stepping up isn’t always “smooth sailing” when you step up for a child or family in need, but it creates a generational impact. Generational impact in the sense that if a child or parent gets out of their dysfunctional cycle and breaks through the chronic dysfunction (mental illness, poverty, drug abuse, addiction, lack of a real support system, low self-worth)–they have a far greater chance of imparting that “breakthrough” onto future generations.
What is the most blatant obstacle from stepping up and serving a child or family in need?
There is beauty in uncertainty…it requires us to have faith. Let’s use our faith to combat common fears about the foster care system.
Below are examples of common fears:
“I am under the age of 21, so there’s nothing I can really do.”
- Well, I can tell you that the person writing this is 19 years old. Hi there! So for those under the age of 21, there are opportunities that exist for you! Firstly, get educated about foster care. I guarantee there is someone amongst your community/school/work that has gone through the foster care system. If you are vocal about what you’ve learned, it may open up an interesting conversation and opportunity to step up and help.
“I’m single, don’t own a home, and I don’t make a lot of money. I’m not fit to be a foster parent.”
- In order to be a foster parent–you can be married or single, a homeowner or a renter. Financially, the only requirement is that you have enough income to support yourself and the other dependents living under your care. You are given a monthly stipend to care for the foster child. And this is where the term “community” comes in… one of the goals of Explore Foster Miami is to create a network of support all around the city so that each family is “wrapped-around” and supported.
“My job takes a lot from me. I wouldn’t be able to care for a child, let alone do it alone.”
- Firstly, I want to encourage you, a parent working full-time when they have biological children is no different than with foster children. Actually, many foster parents work outside of the home. Secondly, your licensing agency can advise you on childcare options, and discuss what options may be available to assist with child care costs.
I am not ready to be a parent of any kind right now.
- That’s ok! How about mentoring a child for a few hours a month? Or babysitting for a foster family, so the parents can go on a date night? How about connecting with one of our church partnerships and serving a little bit of your time in their foster care ministry? Foster care children did not ask to be where they are now, and most of them don’t believe they have any value. Your time is valuable, and it can truly change a child’s life!
I am over the age of 50. I’m too old to be a foster parent.”
- The only age requirement to foster is a minimum of 21 years of age– no maximum. No one is ever too young or too old to foster. You can become someone’s hero at any age. Many “empty nesters” find foster parenting to be a rewarding experience!
“Foster care children come with too many problems and are too troubled. I won’t be able to handle it.”
- Children are amazingly resilient. It’s incredible how looking through the lens of love and compassion can redirect a child’s future. Foster parents can make a difference by providing a structured, nurturing environment. We need to remember that these children will grow up to be adults in our society. How we respond to their needs now, will largely determine what kind of citizens they will become in the future.
“I love kids and I don’t want to get attached! It would be too hard to see them leave.”
- Well, that would make you a human being with a beating heart! The fact that it would be hard to let a child go, shows that you have the compassion and love to truly nurture a child, and change the trajectory of their life. It’s a “heart tug” validating that you would make an excellent foster parent. Take a step of faith and move forward and get licensed!
Addressing your fears to serve foster children and families is the first step towards saying “yes.” Remember small seeds can have the greatest impact!
Feel free to browse through our website, watch our informational videos and see how the system is broken down here in Miami. Sign up under our “contact us” page as we would love to answer any questions and point you in the right direction!
- What does stepping up mean to you? Remember a time when someone stepped up for you and how that made you feel.
- What is something that you fear would happen if you served your time for foster children? What would it look like if you faced that fear?
- Reflect on a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone. What was your experience like? Was it worth it?