Fostering is a huge arm of orphan care that can’t be overlooked or discounted just because it’s not, by definition, permanent. In a nutshell, the intent of foster care is to provide a safe, healthy home environment for children who for various reasons cannot stay at their biological family’s home. These families can have much less than a day’s notice to open their home to a child or children, and can care for them for years. On top of providing the basic necessities of food and shelter, there are access visits, medical appointments, managing the children’s trauma, and dealing with their departures for whatever reason, among so much more, I’m sure. I don’t dare say that I know more than this about foster care. But we did consider it earlier this year, as some agencies have a foster-to-adopt program in place. The application process where we live is similar, with the same PRIDE training, but there are countless other seminars you can take to deepen your knowledge. The safety requirements of your home are a bit more stringent and monitored regularly. There is also a monetary allowance to cover the costs of caring for the child, as well as medical and dental benefits. Don’t let that suggest it’s a cushy deal. Every impression I’ve gotten of foster parenting has led me to have a special place in my heart for those families. They dig deep to provide a critical need in the welfare of these children.
There is also respite care, a branch of foster care that provides relief to foster families on an as-needed basis. If a foster family has travel plans, say, and cannot bring the child, or even just need a break for a weekend, these respite care families step in and take the child into their home for that period of time. It’s a more predictable option that we also considered, where we could offer our help at times that didn’t upset our current lifestyle (Ben and I both work outside the home full-time).