Foster parents are frequently told that their foster children belong to someone else. They are reminded that the children already have parents and sometimes even larger families. A common message is that the foster parent is merely a substitute for a real parent. Many foster parents take issue with this, and for good reason. These adults are much more than just substitutes.
When foster parents take in a child, this youngster is welcomed into their hearts as well as their homes. Many foster parents say that they could have kept most children forever. Though the child has biological parents, the person providing foster care becomes a parent of the heart and soul. A foster parent views the child as his or hers, even if the situation is only temporary.
Just like biological parents, foster parents may witness many firsts. These are sometimes bad, like a run-in with the law, but are often good, like an A on a test. Biological parents are expected to teach their children many things but some do not. Foster parents step in to teach these youngsters what they already should know. Though they are told their role is a job, it is really much more.
It is nearly impossible not to become emotionally attached to the child. Anyone who is able to remain at a distance will probably not be effective as a foster parent. After all, wasn’t it the emotional distance of the biological parents that got the child into this situation? Foster parents provide children with a sense of well-being and give them a reason to trust again.
A foster child should be treated the same way as a biological child. Foster children deserve fairness, consideration, respect, and equality. They should be included in family events and shown what a real family is like. Foster parents are more complements to biological parents than they are substitutes.