A note from Executive Director Chandler Means regarding the COVID-19 outbreak: Read the note
By Briana Jenczyk, MSW
As a foster care case manager, I am frequently asked about the relationship between birth parents and foster parents. People often expect there isn’t a relationship between them, but we actually encourage the opposite when it’s in the child’s best interest. For foster parents (and, honestly, for birth parents as well), the idea of working with each other is a scary idea. While not always possible, the relationship between a birth parent and a foster parent can be a beautiful thing.
Over the last several months, I’ve had the honor of watching this type of relationship form between a birth parent and foster family. The foster family has become a mentor and a friend to the birth parent. The foster family has supported and cheered for the parent as the parent has stepped up to do everything needed for the child to return home. As we approach the time of that child reuniting, the foster family has continued to support and advocate for the parent. I recently had a phone call with the birth parent and listened as the parent explained how amazing the foster family has been. I was told that the birth family plans to keep a relationship with the foster family because even though they don’t share blood, they have become like family. Of course the foster family will experience heartbreak as this child returns home, but they are the first people cheering for this birth parent to step up to be the parent this child needs.
To me, this is the perfect example of what foster care should look like. Most parents who end up with their children in foster care do not have a strong support system around them, but when the foster parents can take on that role and become part of a support system, it can give the birth parent the strength they need to succeed. This relationship is also an example of how Christ loves each of us. We’re far from perfect and we make huge mistakes, but with His love and grace, we begin to pick up the pieces and get back on track.
To learn about becoming a foster parent, click here.
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