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Foster Care Month 2020 Stories - Get InvolvedDate: 05/11/2020
My wife and I started fostering a couple of years ago because we didn’t think we were doing enough to give back. We have three boys, and we hoped they would also realize the needs of others before their own. We presented them with the idea, and they seemed both nervous and excited—the same feelings we were having. My wife and I went through all the training and were approved soon after. We were ready!
We love the outdoors. We hike and mountain bike mostly, but we enjoy the Arkansas outdoors any way we can. We try to pass that love down to our boys, and we weren’t going to change that no matter how many kids we had with us. We have taught nine kids to put up a tent for camping, and we have introduced them all to biking as well. Teaching kids to challenge themselves by learning something new is an important life skill. Some of our happiest moments have been seeing these kids push past their fears, experience success, and ultimately build confidence in themselves. It’s important to celebrate the small wins in life.
When we signed up for foster care, we thought we would just be helping kids. Our biggest realization, though, is that the biological parents of these kids needed our support, too. Trauma can be a cycle that affects families for generations, and we found that we can positively impact that by helping, supporting, and mentoring some of these parents. We have had families over for holidays and birthdays, and we have mentored parents and families even when we didn’t have their kids in our care. Like all of us, sometimes they got overwhelmed and just needed someone to talk to. Being involved in the families’ lives, not just the children's, has been an unexpected bonus in our adventure.
Our advice to those on the fence about foster care is to go do it. It doesn’t always have to be a long-term placement, and the need is there. We have had kids from one night to over a year. You may get attached to the kids, and that’s ok. That means you are doing it right!