The Power of Open-Mindedness

 

This month's blog highlights Foster Care, since May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and our story comes from Regional Leader Emily Kaiser. The following story highlights the experience of the Smith family and how their openness to older-child fostering led to a cherished relationship with their teen, Matthew. Due to foster care privacy policy, the image and names in the story have been changed.

“For two years, I have been working with the Smiths, a local foster family who was open to placement of children  up to age 10. Time and time again, this family has taken emergency placements of children in need and then supportively worked with each child’s family of origin to bring about their reunification.

Last year, the Smiths’ agency social worker called to ask if they would consider an 18 year old foster youth. The Smiths were initially hesitant given the youth’s older age, but they prayed, trusted their social worker, and eagerly said yes. Little did they know at the time of placement but the Smiths would end up gaining a son and the foster youth, Matthew, gained a forever family.

As an 18 year old about to embark into adulthood, Matthew desperately needed the Smith family’s help in learning to navigate responsibilities in the expanding world around him. They began to coach Matthew in practical things like budgeting and life skills. They also made themselves available so that Matthew could share about his past and talk about his hopes for the future. As a result of Matthew’s hard work and the Smith family’s support, Matthew was able to go off to a four-year university! While in the day-to-day the Smiths were simply being selfless and loving in the little things, it ultimately made a large impact on Matthew’s heart. Although no legal adoption took place, the Smiths consider Matthew a son and he has a permanent connection to a family. After this experience, the Smiths have continued to take placements of other teens in this past year.”

The Smiths have always recognized that foster care isn’t about themselves or their own family plans, but rather a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus to vulnerable children and teens. The mindset of openness and flexibility is a remarkable example of the obedience and love displayed by this family.

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