By Hannah Wiginton

1. You change the course of a child’s life – You don’t have to be a hero to the whole world, but you can be a hero to one child.

2. You help a child get away from abuse and neglect – Most of these kids have been removed from their home because of abuse. Having them in your home means they are not in a bad place anymore.

3. You invite more love into your life – You know that this child needs your love, attention, affection, and encouragement. It’s up to you.

4. You’ll get to challenge someone to a game of basketball, football, baseball, or any other fun sport – Keeps you active, keeps a child active, and teaches friendly competition.

5. You provide a safe and happy home for a child – Many children who have been abused experience anxiety, detachment, and anger. Your home can be a haven of safety and peace.

Parenthood requires love, not DNA. (1)

6. You get to hear more laughter and giggles – Kids laugh at the silliest things. There’s nothing more precious than hearing a child’s pure laughter and joy.

7. You still get to act like a kid and play fun games – You get to play Go Fish, Yahtzee, and all the other games you used to play. Sometimes, it’s never ending…

8. You stay young at heart –  Still wish you were a kid sometimes? Having a child keeps you physically, emotionally, and mentally active! And young at heart can help you have a long life.

9. You won’t ever be bored – 🙂 – Kids are always into something. You never know what might happen, it just keeps you on your toes!

“According to my calculations, I want 3,000 chocolate nuggets.” – Alex, age 4

10. You get to dance more often – Who doesn’t love dancing in the middle of the living room being silly?!

11. You are changing the course of a generation – You can dramatically change the course of generations to come because you reached out to help a child.

12. It gives you a new perspective on many different areas in your life – Your family, your job, your friends, etc. You will start to see the world in different ways.

13. Play video games, watch movies, or have tea parties – Binge on the latest released video game or new kids movie or you can just put on your tiara, be a princess and drink tea.

14. It opens your view to a whole new world – There is so much pain in the world sometimes, you can make a change.

15. You are a strong and gentle guide for a child whose life has been filled with chaos – Ever lived in endless chaos? Most of these kids have. You can be the calm.

Your child's traumatic past doesn't define their future

16. You are doing “small things with great love”  – You don’t have to save the world from a deadly disease, you don’t have to change 1 million people. You can, however, do many small things with great love for a child.

17. More hugs – (This can take time!) Some kids have had bad experiences with affection and how to show love. You are working to build emotional connections with your child.

18. You learn how to become more selfless – Being a foster parent can be tough! It changes you and teaches you how to give to others.

19. You get to learn new techie things on your phone –  Can’t figure out how to turn your ringer back on? Why does that app keep beeping at you? Kids know it all and how to fix it!

20. You are giving a child space to heal – Many have endured abuse over and over and over. It takes time to heal, sometimes a really long time. You are providing a child the tools to overcome.

21. You are able to love others in your life more deeply – It takes unconditional love to parent a child who has been through trauma and may act out. Your actions are showing a child that love is unconditional.

22. You get to shop for new school clothes and shoes – Search for cute bows, cool sports gear, or the latest Minecraft shirt. See the joy in his or her eyes when they see their brand new tennis shoes.

23. You become a more understanding and compassionate person  – You become more empathetic to others. You learn there is a lot of truth in the quote “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” can be.

24. You learn lots of patience – You will encounter many situations that will test you. You learn how to handle situations with more grace and patience.

25. You are teaching a child what a loving family is – Growing up in a home of anger, abuse and turmoil is the norm for many. A child can learn what healthy relationships are and how to treat others with kindness, love, and respect.

26. If you have a toddler, you get to learn all the songs to Sesame Street. If you have a teen, you get to watch all the latest teen drama TV shows – Ok, this may not be the most rewarding or useful part, but seeing happy on a child’s face can help.

27. There are not enough foster homes – You are one of a brave few who steps up for children in need. If you don’t, who will?

“What makes a family is neither the absence of tragedy nor the ability to hide from misfortune, but the courage to overcome it and, from that broken past, write a new beginning.”
― Steve Pemberton

28. You are a lifelong support system for a child – Parenting doesn’t end when a child turns 18. Young adults need your help to transition to adulthood.

29. You get better and learn something every day  – Being around a child who has experienced trauma teaches you new things.

30. You are teaching lifelong skills to a child – How to bathe, how to have good manners, how to behave, many things that kids need to learn to grow up successfully.

31. You are a teaching a child how to connect and love – Many times, children with trauma don’t know how to bond and be nurtured. You are teaching them the depths of love and that there are people who care.

32. Your community needs you to step up – Kids in your community are being abused and removed from their home every day. They need a safe place to go. If you aren’t there, they will have to go further away from the healthy relationships they do have like teachers, a neighbor, or a friend.

33. You are always up-to-date on the latest fad  – Let’s face it. We get older and more disconnected. Having a child keeps you in the know about the latest trends.

34. You’re expanding your connection to others – Being a foster parent will connect with you with people you would never have met in your typical day-to-day. Other foster parents, those who have adopted, biological parents, case managers, and caring people who want a child to succeed.

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