Did you know that May is National Foster Care Awareness Month?
I didn’t plan that with the launch of my book, it just happened. But since it fell that way, AND my book tells the story of a teen girl in foster care, I thought I would write here about what foster care is and isn’t.
Foster care isn’t a label. It’s not a sticker that we can place on the foreheads of the kids who go through it, because “poor them.” We shouldn’t call them “foster kids” like that’s their name.
Each and every child that enters the system is special. Each one has a story to tell, and there is beauty to be found in every story. There’s no wall that divides the kids who are in foster care from the ones who aren’t.
Or at least there shouldn’t be.
Foster care isn’t good. This isn’t to say that good cannot come from foster care, because I’ve seen it happen in my own family. I would not have my beautiful three sisters if good never came from foster care.
But foster care, in itself, is not good. It’s because families break that foster care exists, and the world, at it’s very perfect beginning, was not intended to be broken. But brokenness does exist, and foster care is a real thing.
There’s a balance between knowing that foster care is not good, and knowing that good can come from it. There is always hope, no matter the brokenness.
Foster care is a door. While there is a physical door for kids in care to walk through (usually a stranger’s front door, to be exact), there is also an emotional and spiritual door that can be opened too.
I saw this in my parents’ relationship with kids in their home over and over again. Whether it’s praying with them, or just giving them a shoulder to cry on, there are important doors that are being opened; doors that can offer much needed hope.
Foster care is about relationships. A lot of times, grace is a foreign concept for kids in foster care. It’s not necessarily common to give or receive unconditional love, and yet the power of these two things can change someone’s life.
In my book, the main character, Bri, has been hurt so many times that she becomes fearful of being loved by anyone. She is scared that these people, too, will abandon her, so she puts up a wall.
But when a certain person proves to her over and over again that they will, in fact, be there for her when she needs them, she realizes how important relationships really are.
As we share and learn this month about what foster care is, let’s keep in mind the simple truth that these kids who have experienced it are strong, beautiful, and oh so special.
To read my book about a teen girl in foster care that works through things like trust, abandonment, and heartbreak, go to Amazon.com and search “More To Me by Saty Cornelius”, or click here.