Next week, the month of May comes to a rapid close and, with it, the advent
of summer; however, before pining a tidy bow on the month of May, I remind
you that May is National Foster Care Month.
As an adoption professional, I tip my hat to Florida's foster parents, who
day-in and day-out are the lifeline for many of our State's precious
children when these children otherwise are not able safely to live in their
own homes. Many of these foster moms and dads nurture these kids as best
they can, but ultimately bid them adieu when the child is reunified back
into the home from which the child was removed or even placed elsewhere with
a family member or non-relative caregiver.
On the other hand, some foster parents become through adoption what we in
the adoptions community affectionately refer to as the child's "forever
family." Frankly, for a host of reasons, these foster child adoption
finalization hearings are amongst the most poignant. Many times, the child
to be adopted is older, he or she, regrettably, has been through some level
of trauma and also has felt first-hand the fear and uncertainty attendant
with being removed from one's home. The child's foster and now forever
family, in turn, represents a safety net, as well as a fresh start, for the
child. For all involved, the adoption finalization hearing is the
culmination of so much love, sweat, and tears, played out over months, if
not years, and now, happily, wrapped into a series of moments of joy.
Will you aspire to a greater good? Are you motivated to make a difference
in the life of a child? Do you get that you stand wonderfully to be
enriched and ennobled by welcoming a child into your home, weaving that
child into the fabric of your family, and maybe even being this child's
"forever family", the fabric woven into a tapestry? Is the cacophony that
is daily life as a mom and/or dad in your orbit?
If yes, then we have beautiful foster care kids here in the Sunshine State
that need your love, guidance, humor, tenderness. And, as a Florida foster
parent, not only are you paid a monthly stipend by the State of Florida, but
without raising a finger, you also automatically are made a member of both
your local and statewide network comprised of other similarly situated
The state entity in Florida is FSFAPA, Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent
Be a foster parent. Be that rock solid role model every kid would want to
be like and emulate, be that grown up from whom an impressionable foster
child can learn, and to whom that uncertain, finding-my-way-in-the-world
foster child can turn. Open your arms and the sanctuary that is your home to
these precious kids, envelop them.
After all, out there in the big bad world, with its tweets, and its texts,
and its insensitive, mile-a-minute pace, you may be one person, BUT to one
person, you just well may be the world!! Think about it!!
Jeanne T. Tate