Engage in Foster Care
If you're in Colorado, download a flyer with ideas on how you can support foster parents and children in your community.
Re-live the Project 1.27 Exhibit
After being found alone in a hotel, three-year-old Chloe has since transitioned through 12 different placements. Heading in the door of her new foster home, Chloe clung to two half-filled grocery bags and her little one-eared puppy. As Chloe’s foster mom began unpacking her belongings, she discovered an odd assortment of clothing: an infant’s navy blue onesie, a size 6 Toy Story pajamas, an orange Halloween shirt, and a handful of mismatched clothes that looked like they might actually fit.
In foster care, Chloe lost more than clothes. She lost consistency, identity and place of belonging. She lost bedtime routines, a pencil-marked wall to measure her growth, a consistent family and a place to call home. Chloe had only her puppy and mismatched clothes. Unfortunately, foster children often arrive with little or nothing.
- 61,000: U.S. children whose parental rights were terminated in 2011
- 252,000: Children entering U.S. foster care during 2011
What are you thinking as you look through Chloe’s luggage?
Eleven-year-old Ryan often listened to his mom and dad fight from up in his room. On multiple occasions Ryan saw his father hit his mother, and his mother retaliate by throwing objects. Sometimes Ryan tried to intervene. Then, his dad would slap him across the face, saying, “Go to your room or I’ll give you another reason.” Ryan would hide in his closet to escape.
Last Monday night, Ryan’s dad met some friends to watch the big game. Ryan knew there was going to be trouble when his dad got home, and there was. Ryan was paralyzed as he listened to the fighting and his mom’s desperate screams. The smell of whiskey and blood, the sirens, the images of paramedics trying to resuscitate his mom are seared into his memory. At his new foster home the next morning, Ryan can’t get those memories out of his head. His brain is in hyper drive and he just can’t think straight.
- Traumatic events are often experienced as a pattern of sensations with sounds, smells and feelings
- Trauma has more severe effects when it happens to a younger child
- Children who have been adopted or are in foster care often suffered trauma and live with more anxiety
How would a traumatic experience like this impact you as you grew up?
Erin and Anthony welcomed their first placement, two siblings into their home. Eighteen months later, the children they had come to love dearly reunified with their first family. Erin and Anthony celebrated the family’s success, but missed the small voices echoing throughout the house. After grieving the loss of their first foster children, the couple was asked to foster another sibling set. After six months, those children also reunified with their family.
As children come in and out of Erin and Anthony’s home, they’ve learned to love completely and then let go. Erin and Anthony explain, “Of course we’d love to adopt them, but now we understand the huge needs of kids and families in the foster system, so we’re trusting God with whether or not we’ll ever adopt. “We’re on a journey of trusting God throughout this entire process. We have to, or else we wouldn’t make it.”
- 3: Average number of placements a foster child experiences
- 20.4: Average number of months in foster care before exiting
- 500+: Children placed with Project 1.27 families
If you were a Foster Care parent or sibling, what would help you survive these multiple transitions?
Entering foster care at age eight, Mandy never expected to stay in the system long but her desire for reunification had been dashed as her dad went to jail, her mom disappeared and her grandma was too ill to take her in. Over time, Mandy dreamed of a fresh start with a family she could depend on forever. She hoped for a dad to teach her to drive, a mom to help pick out a prom dress and even a sister for sharing secrets and clothes.
Today, Mandy is almost 18 and dreading her upcoming birthday. How will she afford college or even finish high school? Will she be able to get a job that pays enough to cover rent? A forever family looks like an impossibility. Now, all she thinks about is the question, “How am I going to survive all alone in this world?”
- More than one in five young people in foster care will become homeless after age 18
- One in four youth in foster care will be involved in the justice system within 2 years of leaving
- 71% of young women in foster care are pregnant by 21
How would your life be different if you didn’t belong to a family?
Darren’s social worker explained that his mom had to spend some time alone because she was sick with a disease called “substance abuse.” He never really understood why he couldn’t visit her and had to live with strangers. Initially, it had been difficult having new people to act as his parents. They ate different food and liked hiking and jazz music. On Sundays, they went to church and he went with them. It was weird at first, but after a little while he decided it wasn’t too bad.
Church people tutored Darren when he started at his new school. They cooked when his foster mom was sick, and prayed for lots of things, even him and his mom. Darren’s foster mom invited his mom to attend AA meetings at the church. When the church people discovered she was his mother they did nice things for her. Apparently it helped, because now Darren sees his mom twice a week and in just a few weeks he’ll be living with his mom again.
- 51% of children who exited foster care were reunited with their families in 2009
- Children under the age of 1 are reunified with their parents only 35% of the time
If you struggled with addictions, mental illness or homelessness, what resources would you need to successfully care for your children?
In February 2010, Jay and I began foster and adoption training through Project 1.27. After completing our training and licensure in Dec we met Simon (10) and Adrian (8) and were told that they would be moving in five days later. We leaned on our faith community for what we called “Extreme Makeover-Adoption Edition”.
Our boys were a perfect fit for Jay and I, their interests and personalities were a great match. We’re blessed to watch their firsts: first plane ride, first time at the beach, first time on a train. Jay and I celebrated our first Mother’s and Father’s Days! Less than one year after Simon and Adrian arrived, we finalized the adoption on April 4th, 2012.
The process of fostering and adopting our boys was difficult and has been questioned at times, but God’s hand has been there to catch us with every fall. Together, we work through things as a family. On their adoption day, the judge told us we were officially a family. Those words brought the best kind of tears. -Rosalie
- 101,719: U.S. foster children waiting to be adopted in 2011
- 52,039: Children adopted from U.S. foster care in 2011
- 7.8 years old: Average age of child waiting to be adopted
What role are you called to play in the lives of foster children?