A common question we get concerns the effects of fostering on a family’s own biological children. One foster family put it this way: “In most cases we’ve had, the kids in foster care come into our home not trusting adults. It is our bio children who have bridged that gap until we can earn their trust. We always tell people we are a foster family, not foster parents.”
Here’s a story from one of those bio children. Lexi Dart lives with her family in Price, Utah.
My name is Lexi Dart, and I am a foster sister, the biological daughter of the foster parents. My parents started taking foster care classes in January of 2017. I was so excited to be able to bring kids in need into my home. After we got our license, all of us were not-so-patiently waiting. It took about a month for our first call to come. It was a two-year-old boy that had lived in the Children’s Justice Center for five days. We obviously said yes and were able to go pick him up. He was very speech delayed and pretty much didn’t talk at all. Owen is now four years old and we were able to adopt him in last year.
A foster sister’s job is an important one. My job is to make these kids feel loved and at home at all times. I don’t go to court, or communicate with the bio parents like my parents do, but my job is completely focused on my new sibling. Through this experience, I have been able to learn so much. The first few weeks after a child is placed in foster care are essential. This could be the first time they have felt love or appreciation. This is the time to teach them they are safe, they are loved, they have a purpose, and life can be better than it has been for them.
The first couple weeks are also some of the hardest. Be prepared for emotional breakdowns. These kids have been taken out of their homes, lived in a shelter, and brought into a new home, all in just a couple days. In these times, you have to make sure to keep your patience, even though at times it will be hard. In some cases the kids will cry nonstop, refuse to eat or sleep, or even blame you for their parents decisions. At some moments you just want to give up. That is until they tell you how happy they are to be able to live with you, or the first time they call you mom or sister.
My parents always tell me to not expect anything, because the opposite always happens. If they tell us these kids will only be with us for two weeks, it’ll be a year. Or if we’re told likely adoption, they’ll be gone in a month. You can’t expect anything and that is one of the hardest parts. Foster care is extremely hard, but also extremely rewarding. I wouldn’t change being a foster sister for the world. For my birthday, Facebook prompted me to set up a birthday fundraiser. So, I decided to choose Utah Foster Care as my charity. I was so excited when I raised over $350! It felt great to contribute to an organization that betters the lives of so many families.