In the past five years the number of kids in the NC foster care system has increased more than 25 percent. With nearly 11,000 children currently in the system, the need for foster parents is greater than ever. Curious about fostering but unsure if it’s right for your family? Worry not, because Kelly Riley, Foster Care Trainer and Licensing Specialist at Crossnore, is here to help. Here she shares three reasons why fostering might be beneficial for your family:
For the Whole Family
Fostering provides a nurturing environment for the foster child. It also teaches your other children how to be compassionate, share, and be a part of something bigger than themselves.
“Fostering is one of the most profound ways to impact lives. It is something that all family and household members are a part of,” explains Riley. “We often hear about how a foster parents’ other children are able to connect with and offer companionship to a child in foster care. They also have the chance to learn through their parents’ example about serving others. And it may help them see others with greater compassion.”
“Welcoming a child into your family, whether for a short time or forever, is a chance to share compassion and care with another person,” Riley says. “New, loving relationships can be formed with everyone in the home.”
From her family’s experience, Liza Baron shared, “Fostering is good for families because it brings a whole lot of love into the household. No family can ever have too much love. Additionally, it provides a good opportunity to help foster siblings learn how to share, be cooperative, and help their parents.”
And foster parent, Samantha White said, “It helps us focus on what really matters in life. My little ones get an opportunity to put aside their wants and serve others. That is rare at 2 and 4 years old. We are both humbled and empowered when we realize the power of compassion.”
Bring Richness to Your Life
Foster families regularly interact with many organizations and services that they may have had little awareness of before they began fostering.
“Every interaction [with service providers] is an opportunity to share hope and contribute to positive change. It’s also a chance to build connections and new relationships that add to the richness of lives. Our network of foster parents are a strong support for one another,” says Riley.
Although Jeff Riley is not related to Kelly Riley, he agrees with her. “Each fostering situation affects two different families, the child’s bio family and the foster family,” Jeff said. “Fostering is good for the bio family in a number of ways. It gives the adults directly involved an opportunity to focus on wellness – mental, physical and emotional. Fostering is good for the foster family in that is truly an investment in your community. You are providing love, shelter, support, and guidance to a child when they are most vulnerable and in need.”
Don’t just take Kelly’s word for it though. Hear what some other Crossnore foster parents have to say about the benefits of fostering:
Family meetings and check-ins are a part of the foster care process. These can be of benefit to the entire family, opening up communication and bringing the family together. – Jeff Riley
I will say that serving as a Foster family has allowed us to change a child’s world. It has warmed our hearts and home. All of the children that we have come to know have given us a glimpse of the many faces of God’s children. It has humbled us and taught us to serve with a grateful heart. – Michele Stanfield
Fostering puts you in touch with kids in need and once they learn to trust you, they can bring you a lot of joy and happiness. Seeing a child change and be molded into their own little person brings us great joy. The children learn that people do care and love them. It also gives families in crisis a way to get help and learn structure and the values they’ll need once they are all reunited. – Sharon Petticord
For more information on how you and your family can benefit from fostering, contact Kelly Riley at (336) 721-7600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.