Many hands make light work…
Ever had trouble getting a babysitter on a Friday night? Imagine trying to find one who has: completed CPR training, had FBI fingerprinting and TB test, criminal background screens, and completed CPS required trainings. Those are just a few of the things that foster parents have to look for in their child care providers. As you can imagine, these requirements make it nearly impossible for some foster parents to find time alone as a couple, or dedicated time with their bio-children.
I’ve been told by folks at the DFPS that there is a 50% drop-off rate of foster parents after the first year of fostering. While a portion of this is due to families adopting children into their homes, others simply burn out due to the challenging nature of foster care. Tara and I realized early on that we were going to need plenty of help to make this a lasting part of our contribution to the community. I did a little math and determined that if we had 8 families who saw the foster children in our home as an opportunity to participate in orphan care – that we could accomplish the following:
- date night weekly
- dedicated bio-child time every other week
- weekend break every other month
- on-call help as needed
Since that discovery we have built our foster team, and let me tell you, it has been a game changer. As I’ve mentioned in the past, while Tara and I feel a call to foster, it’s not motivated by a desire to grow our family. We have a desire to give kids in our community, that need one, a place to stay. The families on our team that see our foster children as “their own” a couple of times a month are making this an effort that we can sustain for the long haul.
Being a part of a foster team really doesn’t take much. A little time and a little money to get certified, but cumulatively much less than you would spend on an overseas mission trip. A willingness to spend an evening a month, have a child overnight a couple of times a year, and maybe a rotisserie chicken and some mac-n-cheese when you show up to babysit!
In addition to the benefits for the host families, like Tara and I, listed above, the foster children get to experience a team of people around them working together to love them and meet their needs. And because we all know it’s better to give than receive, the biggest benefits are for those who join in this work.