Do you already have children and are considering becoming a foster parent? Maybe you’ve experienced a season of infertility and now are attracted to the idea of coming around children who desperately need support. Or maybe you’re just getting started on the road to build your family and are considering foster care as an option.
Chrystal Smith, founder and executive director of Foster Village, offers sound advice and an open-eyed approach to ensuring your success. I interviewed Chrystal on our Newborn Promise Podcast about her experiences with fostering and supporting others who do. Here are some interesting highlights for you:
Your preconceptions will be challenged: “Going into it we imagined our role as foster parents as being more of these folks who could come in and pull a child out of hard circumstances and away from this dark world,” she said. “And I think what surprised me most was really that God used it as an opportunity to pull us into these trenches and this brokenness—to open our eyes to our role, that is, to foster a family as a whole and to love all parties involved the best we could. That we were just to walk alongside people, that we really weren’t the saviors, by any means.”
Connecting with others is foundational: Chrystal said the biggest determining factor in a foster couple’s success is getting support from others who have done it. “When we started fostering, we didn’t know any local foster families, and so we thought we could kind of figure this out,” she recalled. “As we got further into it we realized that we really needed to broaden our network of folks who were in the process of fostering or who had fostered, and just kind of gather in that village, so to speak, of people who understand and who we could relate to, and ask the hard questions or be honest with, without feeling at risk of judgment.”
Opportunities exist where you live: More than 400,000 children across the nation are in the foster care system. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers detailed information to get you started where you are.
Hear more insights and advice, and learn more about Foster Village, in the 25-minute episode.
Callie is the founder and president of Graham Blanchard Inc. She also specializes in strategic program design and content development for improving outcomes in corporate philanthropy and education.
Text Copyright @ 2019 Callie Grant