By Dan Webster

Area Representative, Salt Lake Valley

I’m often reminded just how incredible our foster parents are. One of the highlights of my job as a Foster/Adoptive Family Recruiter is running into foster parents with whom I’ve worked at some point along the licensing process. To see them get licensed, receive placements, struggle through the challenges, enjoy the successes, and either help a child reunify with their parents or are given the chance to adopt, is immensely gratifying to me. Helps me realize that countless hours spent working out in the community to find these families have been worth it. Recently, I had one such chance encounter which was especially rewarding.

I was packing up after a day at the Murray office just as a pre-service class was about to begin. As I walk towards the training room, I ran into one of our many great foster parents. It surprised me to see her there; for a moment I thought she had come for a Cluster. She replied “no, I’m just here to come to training with (a potential foster parent).”  I was floored! Here’s a foster mom with so much already on her plate, who lives far away from the office, and she takes precious time out of her week to come and sit through a training she’s already done…heck, she could probably teach the class!…all in order to be a support to her friend. I have since thought to myself, “Here’s someone who gets it…here’s someone who is willing to ride the, frightening at times, waves of foster care with someone else.” I don’t know that I praised her enough for doing so.

It’s this kind of support which I see so often via the Cluster pages on Facebook and in person during Clusters and other events, that is of immeasurable help to the new and the seasoned foster parents. To know that a group of people are so willing to set aside their lives to help a fellow foster parent in need is humbling. It’s powerful to know that these same people are a significant force for good in our community. They are setting aside their own life and interests to serve our most vulnerable societal demographic; children in foster care.

Exactly 2 months prior to his death, the late Martin Luther King Jr. said “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  You don’t need to be perfect to be a foster parent. But by being a foster parent you will find yourself helping and toiling among the greatest among us.

And THAT is what makes foster parents incredible.