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FIRST-PERSON: What about my kids? Foster care’s impact

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. (BP) — Last year, we were a family of four. My husband and I had a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. But with one phone call our whole world changed.

There was a baby who needed a home. We had felt God’s call to foster care, and though we never expected this baby or this timing, we said yes.

In less than 24 hours she was on our front porch and entered our home and hearts.

One of the common questions people have asked (and we did too) is “Doesn’t it take away from your biological children?”

The answer is “yes.” It does. My kids had to endure sudden and abrupt change. They have to share time, attention and toys. They’ve had to miss out on activities, vacations and playdates. They’ve had to adjust to a new baby’s schedule. They’ve had to deal with tired and worried parents who struggle to play with them as much as they used to.

They’ve had to learn the terribly painful lesson that life isn’t about them.

I have seen them struggle to navigate people’s questions and opinions. I have watched their eyes well up with tears as other children told them she’s “not your real sister.” I have answered questions about things most kids their age aren’t yet exposed to. I have guided them through tears, frustration and anxiety. And I have listened to them pray for their sister’s unknown future.

I have also seen them grow in maturity, in selflessness and in compassion. I have watched them become more flexible, more resilient, less judgmental kids. I have noticed them bond over their shared experience. I have watched a brother and a sister fall in love with this baby who needed a home.

There are kids without homes. There are kids who need a safe, loving place for a time or sometimes forever. And if God calls you to this, He also calls your kids.

And it may be the greatest way He could ever “take away” from them.

    About the Author

  • Rachel Blankenship

    Rachel Blankenship and her husband have two biological children and became licensed foster parents last year, opening their home to their first foster child. They live in St. Clair County, Ill., one of many counties in the country facing a foster home shortage crisis.

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