So here are some reasons to take in foster teens.
1. You may become the only family they have.
Can you imagine aging out of the foster system with no one. Not having any family to guide you into early adulthood or if you do have family they may not be very productive or even care about your well being anymore? Wouldn’t it be awesome to watch a teen:
- Grow into adulthood
- Be there when they graduate
- Support them when they go to college
- Be there for the birth of their child
All the while teaching them and guiding them to be the best possible adults they can be? Be that family! Be that person to help them through life.
2. You may be able to make that hard time a little easier.
Foster care is not fun. It’s hard and mentally exhausting not knowing how long you will be in that placement, how long before you get to go home if ever, if your foster parent will treat you like a person or just another number coming through their home.
Be that home that they remember not because it was stressful or hard, but because it was awesome or at least the home that made all that negative just a bit easier to handle.
3. You may be able to show them what a real home is supposed to be like.
Most children in foster care have not experienced what a real home is supposed to be like. The average foster child is not use to cooking with mom, eating at the dinner table, having a scheduled time to do homework, or even the basics like seeing parents. So you can give them a glimpse of what a home is supposed to be like. You can provide dinners at a table. You can offer up some time cooking in the kitchen.
4. You may be able to teach them how not to run when they get scared.
Many foster children are “runners”, and I don’t mean track! It’s easier to run before things get bad than it is to be hurt or rejected by yet another foster home or situation.
By providing a glimpse at a “normal” life you can help them see that they don’t need to run. Being a foster parent to a teen gives you a chance to redirect that fear into something more productive than running. You can help them learn new coping mechanisms so that when they grow up they don’t continue making the mistake of running every time they are afraid of being hurt or scared.
5. You may be able to show them what is important in life.
You know like:
- Building relationships
- Learning politics
- Figuring out a career, education, and all those other important things we all have to sort out.
Most foster teens have no idea about any of this because the system does not prepare foster youth for adulthood.
6. You may be the only person they will ever be able to trust.
Imagine being a teenager. Now imagine your parents have failed you. The main people you are suppose to be able to trust in life have proven untrustworthy, and the only way you can keep from being hurt again is to stop trusting. Give them a chance to trust someone before they get to a point of no return.
7. You may be able to talk them into listening to that counselor they hate so that they don’t end up like their parents.
Foster children are required to see a counselor. For some foster children the counselor changes every time the foster home does. So what’s the point in listening to them. Now that I am an adult I understand the value, but 32 placements and close to 30 counselors got ignored because I didn’t see the value in listening to their advice.
I also didn’t understand why I should listen to people who likely had no idea what it was like to go through what I did. This is your opportunity to help them learn why they should spend some time listening!
8. You may be able to make sure she doesn’t have to walk down the aisle alone.
Or even get divorced alone. See as a foster child I didn’t get the things on this list. So I married the first person who made me feel like I had a family. I didn’t have someone to walk me down the aisle, no one was there for me at the birth of my first child, and when the inevitable happened no one was there for me in the divorce.
NO ONE should have to go through these things without someone. Be that someone!
9. You may finally be their last stop in foster care.
It’s such a cruel comparison, but I once heard teen foster children compared to senior dogs in the shelter. Those are the ones most don’t want, but if you take them in and keep them till their end they will forever be grateful.
While the comparison is a bit cruel, it’s true. Being a last stop can be the saving grace. You can be the memorable last stop to make all the other stops before it worth it.
10. Or just maybe you can show them that someone out there will love them for just being them!
Because when it comes down to it, isn’t that all that matters? Don’t all people deserve to feel loved no matter what?
Foster a teen! When you do, don’t expect them to be perfect. Don’t expect them to call you “mom” and “dad”. Don’t expect them to listen to every word you say. Expect them to have imperfections. Do your part to help them become the best adult they can be!
This article is a reprint from a blog from December 5, 2016 written by We Have Kids.