Foster: It is Not Just an Adjective

Parents

One of the most fascinating aspects of language is the nuance associated within certain phrases. Some phrases do not require much imagination in order to discern their message while others beg a second glance. Foster care is a phrase so commonly heard that it barely sounds like a phrase anymore. The two words just naturally fit together. The word “foster” is much more than an adjective, though.

Foster Stability

The primary function of a foster family is to put that word to work. They are to promote, encourage, and nurture rituals, routines, and habits within the family so that whatever stability exists within the child’s life has a safe space to maintain itself, and maybe even flourish. Child fostering Cleveland, OH is a challenge, and organizations such as Kids Count Too provide, nay, foster, a bridge of stability between the child’s original home situation and their placement home. This community support is essential for strengthening family attachments and minimizing developmental setbacks.

Foster Resilience

Fostering stability within a placement family can bolster the resilience of children in care and ameliorate negative impacts on their developmental outcomes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15072017). Resilience skills are imperative for a child’s healthy development. The American Psychological Association published a “Resilience Guide for Parents & Teachers” that outlines tips for caregivers to actively foster resiliency in youth (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resilience.aspx). This is a phenomenal resource that foster parents can utilize to support a child as he or she learns resilience, thus, more adequately investing in the future emotional health of the children for whom they are caring.

The APA offers 10 tips:

1. Make connections
2. Help your child by having him or her help others
3. Maintain a daily routine
4. Take a break
5. Teach your child self-care
6. Move toward your goals
7. Nurture a positive self-view
8. Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook
9. Look for opportunities for self-discovery
10. Accept that change is part of living

Foster the Future Adult

Every tip listed above can be reworded to include that oh-so important verb: foster. Foster connection. Foster service. Foster structure and routine. Foster rest. Foster self-care. Foster goal-setting. Foster self-esteem. Foster hope and optimism. Foster discovery. Foster adaptability.

Foster care is more than a warm bed. It is more than a bite to eat. It is an opportunity to love a developing child in a special setting where all of his or her life experiences can exist and be valid within the context of hope, stability, and a budding resilience. It is an atmosphere of understanding and safety in which a child who, at best, has a shaky and unstable emotional foundation, can experiment emotionally and practice making connections without threat of total rejection or disinterest. The lessons learned through subsequent attempts will assist him or her throughout their life. Resilience will be mastered, little by little, and literally everyone on earth will benefit. A foster family who chooses to become a fostering family automatically fosters the future for their children.