When families are considering fostering and they have biological children in their home, they almost always ask what impact fostering could have on their children. This is a wise question—one every family should ask. The reality is, however, that a majority of the time they are asking about negative impacts.
We are one of those foster families who asked that same question before fostering. My wife and I now have a list of the positive effects of foster care on our biological children. Here are a few.
Fostering gave our children opportunities to sacrifice. Whether it was sharing a toy, or even sharing us as their parents, our biological children chose in many different moments to sacrifice for the benefit of another child—one they weren’t even related to! This willingness to sacrifice for others is something our children will take with them into adulthood.
Fostering also gave our children perspective. Our biological children saw firsthand that the world is a difficult and imperfect place. They learned about abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Through that, they also learned we all can do something to make a positive difference. Yes, even kids.
Fostering brought diversity into our home. Children who come into foster care match the children in our community: diverse! Different ages, cultures, languages, races, and socioeconomic statuses are all represented in foster care.
Fostering also gave our biological children a sibling! We adopted our daughter through fostering. The goal of fostering is reunification, for foster children to be safely reunified with their biological families. There are times, however, when this is no longer possible and adoption may become a possibility.
Fostering gave our biological children an opportunity to live out their faith. When they themselves chose to love, care for, and sacrifice for a foster sibling, they were living out what it means for them to love their neighbor.
Our biological children and our family forever will be different because of fostering. Not just because we gained a daughter and sister, but also because of what fostering has done to us and our biological children. Fostering truly has had many positive and lifelong lasting impacts on our children.
Sound off: If you have fostered, what positive impacts did it have on your biological children?