Why in the world would you foster as a single person? is the question I typically get when I tell people that I’m fostering. A year ago, I asked myself that same question and didn’t think it was possible. You see, I am a single (never married), 30 year old woman with no children. I’m the oldest of five siblings, have always loved working with children, and assumed that I would be married with a family by this stage in my life; however, God had other plans.
How Did I Get Here?
I was introduced to foster care through my cousin who is a licensed foster parent. After visiting her and a baby girl that was placed in their care at the time, she told me that I should consider getting involved in foster care as well. My response to her was a friendly reminder that I was single, and I was certain they would only want married couples to parent these children; however, I was wrong. She informed me that relationship status didn’t matter and encouraged me to put some thought into it. I started thinking about how difficult it would be to raise a child alone—not to mention how expensive it would be just for childcare since I work full time. I instantly pushed this idea out of my mind as Satan filled my mind with lies that this could never work.
A few weeks later, I started seeing all these signs involving foster care. Billboards on the way to work, blogs showing up on my Facebook account, commercials on tv, and lastly, sitting behind a foster agency transportation van in traffic one day. At that point, I knew God was nudging me to look further into the idea of foster care. The next weekend, I saw a post on Facebook from the Mercy Hill page advertising a foster care and adoption interest meeting, and I knew this was exactly where I needed to start. My mom agreed to go with me, and that’s where I met the agency that I am currently getting licensed through.
There are so many fears involved in foster care: Will I be able to afford having a child in my home? Will I be able to afford daycare? Will my job be flexible with letting me off for doctor’s appointments and court cases? Will my friends be supportive? How will I have time for a social life? Can I really handle doing this as a single person? And the biggest one of all: What if I get too attached and the child goes back home to his or her biological family? In the grand scheme of things, I realized my fears are minor when compared to a child’s fears in the foster care system without a stable and loving family.
“It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really brave.” – Mandy Hale
What I’ve Learned through Foster Care
I am still in the licensing phase of fostering, but I have already learned so much. The foster care process is slow and tedious, which is exactly the opposite of my personality after making a decision to pursue something. I have learned to be patient in trusting that God has a plan for my foster care story. There have been a few roadblocks that have been frustrating, but I keep reminding myself that God’s timing is perfect, and he already knows the perfect child for me. I still have moments of doubt when I wonder if I am truly ready to take on this adventure, but then I think back on all the moments that led me to foster care. I know that this is where God wants me to be and is faithful to bring it to completion (Phi. 1:6).
So How Can You Get Involved?
Anyone can get involved in foster care. Whether you are single, married, have biological kids, or have no biological kids, the only requirement is a home with stability and love. The gospel calls us to care for the orphans in James 1:27. God promises help and protection for those who cannot protect themselves, and he redeems injustice through his love. He also asks us to do something about it. Even if you aren’t ready to provide a home for a child through foster care, there are many other ways to get involved: volunteer at a group home, babysit for a foster family to give them a night out, get licensed to provide respite care (extended babysitting —lasting longer than 48 hours—for foster families), provide meals for foster families after receiving children in their home, mentor teens in foster care who will soon “age out” of the system, or become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). There’s a place for everyone willing to get involved.
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted. You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” -Psalm 10:14
-Courtney Britton (MH Member)