Did you know that there were 442,995 children in foster care for the fiscal year 2017? And 690,548 children served by the foster care system?
The number of kiddos waiting to be adopted is 123,437. Statistics Here
These numbers really make me sad. Children and teens enter foster care, not by their own will because they have often been neglected, abused, or abandoned and are unable to continue living safely in their own home. The average age of children in the foster system is 8 years old and ages range anywhere from infants to 21 years old.
Because most of the kids that enter foster care have been abused, neglected, or abandoned its important to understand trauma and how trauma can affect our brains, bodies, behaviors and the way we think as we develop. Growing up not being able to explore your environment and experience the world the way that most kids are able to do hinders their growth significantly. It is only normal that they would tend to act out and not trust anyone. The world that they see is not the same that you or I have been given to experience.
Before I get too emotionally involved, let’s talk about trauma. I am no expert but while I have had time off from school my mind has been wandering back to foster care and I have been trying to read up on it, in hopes one day I will be able to open my home to a foster child.
So what is trauma?
I am not talking about trauma such as skinned knees from falling off a bike. Emotional trauma and stress which these kids are exposed to every day and it overwhelms their ability to cope. These types of trauma can vary widely from neglect to domestic violence. Ongoing trauma can hinder a child’s ability to think or behave in situations. They lose their sense of security and safety. They may have developed unhealthy habits or behaviors, which increases their distrust in adults and caregivers causing them to disobey and act out.
The thoughts of countless kiddos sleeping somewhere feeling that way makes me so sad. I’m not here to convince anyone to become a foster parent. I’ve read countless articles and blogs of foster mommies all over the world sharing their world as a foster parent and it’s not an easy one. It takes a lot of patience and caring and being able to drop everything at any giving moment to be there.
But there must be something we can do. Every kid wants to know they are worthy, loved, cared for even if they don’t feel like it with every fiber of their being. I’ve been looking into organizations, mentor opportunities, and volunteer options to try to help any way I can. Let’s get involved in the community, Y’all.
I hope more people foster and adopt all the babies in need of a home.
Remember while you are celebrating the holidays that not everyone has a family as amazing as yours. Be giving and be thankful. And be kind and be patient. Everyone is fighting a battle we have no idea about.
*Disclaimer: I am not an expert on any of these topics. And I am aware there are a million other problems in the world and many people face many problems. My heart has been really drawn to the foster system lately and I just wanted to share thoughts and would love to hear from you. Advice, suggestions. If I have it all wrong. I just want to learn. Educate me.*