My youngest two children are not orphans. They never were. They were among the hundreds of thousands in foster care. And many more just like them need families.
Here are some facts about foster care:
- 415,000+ kids in foster care in the US
- About 10,000 kids in foster care in my state
- The average child in foster care is a 9-year-old African American boy.
- The average length in foster care is about 2 years.
Where do they live?
- 4% Pre-Adoptive Home
- 29% Foster Family Home (Relative)
- 46% Foster Family Home (Non-Relative)
- 6% Group Home
- 8% Institution
- 1% Supervised Independent Living
- 1% Runaway
- 5% Trial Home Visit
My kids were in half of these settings before they came home. Sometimes when I tuck them in, I wonder who did this before me? Who dried their tears? Who pulled covers around their shoulders? Who sang them songs? How could these little ones, so small, be passed around so much?
I still don’t really know how to process how to feel about all the hands that cared for my kids, but I’m thankful for the times each one showed love and kindness and care.
But the system is not hopeless. Each year about 51% are reunified with their parent(s), 7% move in with other relatives, about 20% are adopted. But still, over 22,000 kids age out of the system and leave without families. Without families! I can’t image my kids being among those.
Foster families are my heroes. Adoption is hard. There’s just no way around it. But these kids need homes. They need stability. They need someone to give them a chance. Please learn more about foster care and support families who are standing in the gap.