Why does National Foster Care Month matter?

Maggie's picture

Hello Earthlings! At the beginning of the month, I had written a little blurb on social media letting all of you wonderful folks know that it is National Foster Care Month with the promise of more insight into why this topic is so important to us here at Greater Than Games at a later time. Hello and welcome to that later time!

The GTG family has several people whose lives have been forever changed by foster care, and the foster care system, one of which is me. To be clear, I was never part of a  foster care family, but prior to taking a position at GTG, I worked at a children's hospital in the psychiatric outpatient department. While there I worked on patient and parent education so a lot of my job was helping foster parents and siblings find resources they needed to better understand the new members of their family. Watching strangers pull together to help a child in need had an immense impact on me, and opened my eyes up to what being a foster parent or child can really mean.

 

Jodie, our amazing Shipping Princess, is another person whose life has been altered by foster care, and below is her family's story.

"My family’s foster care journey began six years ago, though we didn’t know it at the time. That was when we adopted our oldest son, and then, in seeking to add more children to our family, we began fostering three years ago. Over that time, we’ve had over ten different kids enter our home for foster care. Some were there a short time, others were there most of that time, and we’ve even been fortunate enough to adopt one of them! You often hear about how fostering is difficult and how it can bring sadness to your life, which is true in a lot of ways, but every one of these kids is unique and interesting and has found their own special way bring smiles to the faces of my family with their happiness, silly questions, funny dances, and interests.

These kids have, obviously, had a big effect on me and my family. Obviously, they dictate our schedules in a lot of ways, change our eating habits periodically, and they create more housework on daily basis, but the things that will always stick with us are less obvious. They’ve shared music, tv shows, favorite toys and games with us. They’ve created meals, messes, and funny anecdotes with us, and one of these kids gave us a particular love of circus. These are the things that will continue to shape all of us, and how we think of different experiences we have, probably for the rest of our lives.

Some of the things that have been an important part of our foster care journey are our friends, family, and workplaces. Family sometimes provides us a built-in (and free!) babysitter, if my wife and I want to spend a little time away from the kids. Our friends are always willing to lend an ear when we just need to vent about the more frustrating parts of foster parenting: the thing the five-year-old did that just piled on to the other stresses of the day in the worst way, etc. And work has been more than accommodating of an ever-changing and moving schedule and sometimes needing to leave in the middle of the day for a sick kid or doctor’s appointment. These supports are vital for our family, and they make fostering possible for us."

 

Jodie's story and my own experiences are part of why National Foster Care Month is important to us, and why we want to take a moment to share the resources available through the Children's Bureau for friends, families, communities and more. Please click the links below to learn how you can support foster children, and families in your life.

For more information on how you can be more involved in National Foster Care Month please click here!