How many of you know about the foster care system in South Africa?
I will admit until very recently I knew nothing. I knew what fostering meant but I knew very little about the system and what happens behind the scene. I also had absolutely no idea just how great the need is for Foster families.
We are a place of safety home, the role of place of safety moms is to act as a middle family of sorts. When a baby gets removed from their parents or when they waiting out the adoption period, they go to a place of safety. It is temporary depending on how long it takes to find a foster family. It should take 3 – 6 months but the reality it it can take longer, much longer.
Well because there are just not enough foster families out there.
There are an estimated 3.7 million orphans in South Africa, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS; and 150,000 children are believed to be living in child-headed households. Source
When you become a foster family you become the child’s legal guardian and are fully financially responsible for them. Should the social workers get permission for the child to be adopted, you will have the option to adopt which then means the child becomes legally a part of your family. If that permission is never granted you could end up fostering until the child is an adult.
So why should you (seriously) consider becoming a foster family?
You can make a difference! You and your family have the ability to make a positive, lasting impact on the life of child who had a rough start.
Your family can teach a child what a family can be. Children who need foster care seldom come from a happy place, they don’t really know what a family is. You can change that and show a child what a strong, functional family can be.
It is incredibly rewarding. Watching a little person start to thrive in your care is incredibly rewarding. The power of love, stability and support is evident when you have a foster child in your home. When they start to trust you and let go of their past experience and start to grow into the people they were meant to be, it will be an unbelievable moment.
It is not an easy journey. There will be days when you question your decision. There will be days it will feel like you aren’t making a difference and there will be unrewarding moments. But the positive moments will be worth every single second.
Is there a greater gift to give a child than the one of love?
These little people are innocent victims of circumstances and while love can’t solve all the problems, it can make a difference.
The care home I am associated with is desperate for foster families. They have babies and children that need to be placed somewhere permanent but right now there is just no where to place them! These children aren’t all babies, there are older toddlers and children who need a safe place to go.
If you are interested in how to become a foster family, please email me.