Happy early birthday to my former foster father; his birthday falls in June around Father's Day.
What is a foster father?
Foster fathers make a difference in the lives of the children they take in. A foster father takes in children that are not their own. They provide these children with a loving home and act as their role models. Foster fathers show these children what it means to be a good person. They teach them how to be kind, caring, and responsible.
Why does someone want to become a foster father?
I think someone becomes a foster father because they want to be a father and raise children to be successful. They have a lot of unconditional love to give, and they want to make a difference in the lives of children. I think a male who becomes a foster father believes every child deserves a chance at a good life. That is why they willingly open their hearts and homes to provide that chance to children whose families are going through difficult times and need support, as my biological parents were when I entered foster care.
My mom battled with mental health issues and had attempted suicide around the time I was a foster child. My mom is indigenous, and her family fell into the negative system of systemic racism, racial injustice, and oppression. My mom became a child of the child welfare system because of it -- otherwise known as the 60s scoops.
My mother's family were residential school survivors. My mother did the best she could with her knowledge without finding full recovery for her generational trauma created by the systems of oppression when she became a mom.
My biological father was always a workaholic who worked to provide for his family and is forever respected! My birth father is also fully 100% blind.
Yes, even though I spent some time in foster care. I was a temporary ward of the child welfare system, not a permanent one! My birth father still raised me alongside my birth mother.
I want to openly share the story of my foster father and my experiences as a foster child within the child welfare system!
He was a very young man, not quite 30, married to a beautiful young lady. They thought they could not have biological children of their own. In their 20's, they decided to become foster parents. I think I was in one of the first bunches of their foster children!
Through estimation, I believe I was their 4th foster child, and my older sister was their 5th foster child, and now they've gone on to foster some 16 + foster kids overall.
I believe my foster father and his wife, my foster mother, deserve recognition and an award for all their contributions to society as foster parents and the children they've taken care of over the years!
As stated above -- I did return home to my biological parents. I'm not sure exactly how many kids my former foster parents went on to foster! I remember my foster father's wife, my foster mother, and all the family values she had, and that her father took me to the water on our trip to the cottage to try to teach me to fish.
I remember the boat cruise that my foster parents took us on. I also remember the family camp I attended for foster kids; it was the first time I ever water skied in my entire life. It was so much fun. These are some memories I truly cherish!!
Now that I have grown up and have become a mother myself!
My goal as a mother has always been to give my children the same memories I had. I appreciate these memories that were given to me by the adults who role-modeled what a good person and a good citizen is in our world! They also taught me what a being a parent is all about.
I believe I've done just that as a parent now myself -- one of my favorite memories as a mother was visiting Niagara Falls with my children. I'm sure they will cherish that memory forever!
Not everyone has the most incredible experiences in the foster care system, but my foster parents were kind, respectful, and friendly toward me. I love them dearly and have kept in contact with them to this day through outlets like social media! I love my birth parents too!
I'm thankful for them and the foster kids they've fostered over the years -- not just me! During my time as a foster child - I didn't like them trying to take the place of my birth parents! This experience as a foster child was one of the main reasons I wanted to pursue a law degree. I originally wanted to be a social worker! I feel I have the life experience to relate to diverse people.
I think of my foster sisters often to this day! My foster parents had biological children of their own when I became their foster child, who were babies at the time. I remember the local pool we'd all go swimming at; it was a lot of fun. I think it's essential to have these programs for our children and youth to develop humanitarian skills and a sense of community within their local neighborhood, no matter their parents' income bracket.
I know they helped my children, who were members of the YMCA, and once a week, we'd go to family swimming night!
I almost drowned maybe twice as a child -- so I found it vital to ensure all my children had swimming lessons from an early age -- something I did not learn early enough.
One time I almost drowned was when this family from church took me to their pool to swim. I used one of the floats to go into the deep end, but at this time in my life -- although I had learned how to swim -- I didn't have enough confidence for deep water! I knew how to swim. At the time, I didn't know how to swim around a bunch of people in a crowded pool. Another time I almost drowned in a local swimming pool, and thankfully I was with my foster sister, and she and the lifeguard saved me.
I finally did go to a family camp, where I jumped off the raft and swam. I ensured my children had swimming lessons and got a lot of practice in the pool early on!
Statistics show that swimming lessons early in life save lives. I realize this due to these experiences. I have anxiety around deep water. It was vital for me to conquer this fear and ensure that my children never had this fear. It was almost crucial to me that they learned the importance of safety early in their lives.
We often overlook many programs, such as safety around water, safety around the fire, safety on the school bus, and even a babysitting course! As a mom myself, and once a ward of the child welfare system -- I found these were crucial things to teach my children from an early age!
I invited them to meet police and firefighters at events held around my city, and I feel this inspired them a lot. My children got to learn about what inside a firetruck looks like, and these are memories they will have to cherish forever!
I know the twins my foster parents had were babies back then, and I know they have no recollection of me now -- as they've grown up and gone onto college and into adulthood.
I had returned home to my birth parents before they were old enough to learn who I am!
I know their parents have given them an example of what it means to be a good humanitarian and serve the community in a self-sacrificing way! I know this because of the mother I became through the experiences of all my parents, extended families, and other role models in my life, and my foster parents were some of those examples to me as well!
They could've quit being foster parents once their dream of being biological parents finally worked out; instead, they went on to foster many more children.
I think they find being a foster parent rewarding and fulfilling! I guess they consider every last one of us part of their tribe and foster family that shaped them into who they are in their character and their own lives.
I'm thrilled my foster parents finally achieved their dream of having biological children. I believe they've had another biological child since my time as their foster daughter.
To this day, they have continued to love every last one of us - their former and present foster children as their own -- always respecting our biological families as well as our biological parents.
My parents loved and appreciated my foster parents very much. I think my former foster father and his wife, my former foster mother, deserve all the praise that two people can be given!
My former foster father and former foster mother are unique human beings living their purpose.
I am thankful for my foster parent's courage. I am grateful for my foster father on this father's day!
I hope every last one of us who had the privilege to experience their loving home back then goes on to change the narrative. I hope US foster children shift the description of what the future looks like for those once in foster care!
I hope we show them we are success stories who work hard and belong to a success story just like our peers! Many foster children are articulate but lack guidance and support to thrive!
My foster parents deserve everything that life has to offer them! I recognize my foster father on this day! I remember everyone who has made an impact in my life.
About the Creator
I am Irene. I am an aspiring blogger and writer looking to influence the next generation towards their dreams. I want the rest to know that age is just a #, and you're never too old to begin a new dream from scratch.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme