As a Foster-adoptive Consultant for Utah Foster Care, I am always looking for effective ways to educate others about foster care issues. During National Foster Care Month in May, my desire to highlight the needs of kids in care increases. While reading an essay written by a teen in our community, I realized sharing her words would be more influential and powerful than anything I could find to say.
“The day my parents told me they were getting certified to be foster parents, I thought they were crazy. We already had seven kids in our family at that time. The second they walked into my home, with nothing but a bag of clothes, my life changed forever. They were immediately pulled into my heart and I was overwhelmed with feelings of love.”
“Foster care is no fairy tale, but the most surprising thing to me is that additional struggles foster children bring are completely over-shadowed by the internal struggle it is to see them in pain. I was surprised at how much it hurt me to see them cry for their parents in confusion. I longed, and still long, to give them safety, consistency, and love. I know now why my parents felt so moved to be foster parents.”
“My family has grown so much, not only in numbers but in strength and capacity to love. I’ve seen firsthand how my siblings opened their hearts to these kids they had never met before. The most remarkable thing to me is how much my four foster siblings have improved since they moved with us. Their performance in school has skyrocketed. The color has returned to their cheeks. They are so happy and healthy. I love seeing them play outside for hours. It gives them a chance to be kids and nothing else.”
“Where they once had uncertainty, they now have a place to call home. Where there used to be hunger for food and family, there is now memories made around the dinner table every night. Before foster care, my family may not have known a life without love, but because of it my wonderful family of now thirteen, our home, and our hearts are full of more love and compassion than we ever had before.”
Lucinda Sowards, the author of the above essay, is 17 years old and lives in Enoch.
She has developed a deeper understanding of foster care that goes beyond heartwarming commercials or overwhelming numbers I could provide. Looking into the faces of her new brothers and sisters, the urgency to bring awareness to this vulnerable population is something that cannot be glossed over or allowed to be ignored any longer.
National Foster Care Month is intended to help us all pause in our day to day busy lives and ask the hard questions:
“If not now, then when?”
“If not you, then who?”
If you would like more information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent please contact me. I would love to share my experiences and answer any questions you might have!