I want to normalize the discussion of foster parents being just foster parents. I want to shut down the assumption that foster parents must adopt the children who are placed in their homes.
It may say seem obvious that foster parents are just that: foster parents. But, somewhere along the line, it seems that foster care and adoption have become synonymous. One in the same. A "both," rather than an "and/or."
But, just so we're clear on how they're different: Foster care is temporary. Adoption is forever. Foster parents are necessary because many children only need temporary homes. Foster parents are necessary because not every child who will ultimately be adopted can be immediately placed in an adoptive family.
Sometimes the selfless, heroic people who are willing to adopt are not willing to ride the roller coaster of foster care. Sometimes the children we thought were staying for a week, stay for a year. Sometimes a biological parent just needs a second chance, a helping hand. Sometimes other biological family members who seem like they will be an appropriate option are not.
Foster care is, at its core, a bridge. Back to first family or on to forever family. Sometimes foster family and forever family are one in the same. Sometimes.
Foster parents must never--not ever--be shamed or condemned or criticized when they do not adopt their foster children. Adoption is not in our job description. Does it sometimes happen? Yes. Does it have to happen? No.
There are parents who feel called to foster care and adoption. Those parents should be honored. There are parents who feel called--only, solely called--to adoption. Those parents should be honored. There are parents who feel called--only, solely called--to foster care. Those parents should be honored.
If you have questions on becoming a foster parent in Mesa County, please contact Ariel Clinical Services at 970-245-1616.