THE FOSTER CARE COMMUNITy
Patrick is a single dad of three. He has been a part of our Love Box Program since late last year when he was fostering three wonderful boys and has been supported by an incredible and dedicated Love Box leader.
Patrick grew up without a father; he says "I didn't have any examples to go by." But this didn't stop him. He adopted his three boys and makes it his mission to be there for them as someone to protect them, nurture them, and guide them through life.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.3 million children (1 in 4) live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home.
"All three of my boys have dads who weren't there. Like me, they didn't have anybody throwing a football. I want to have that with my kids. I want to watch them grow, watch them learn, watch them see and have things they weren't able to have, This is what being a father is, to be there for your family."
Patrick says growing up he had his mother teach him how to love. He says, "I pull from that example. I am a dad with a mother-sized heart." Patrick wants to give his three boys the space to be vulnerable and make mistakes. He wants them to know he will always have their back and be there to ride this journey together.
To all of our fathers:
Those who are fostering or kinship fathers
Those who are adoptive fathers
Those who have strained father relationships
Those who are biological fathers
Those who have strained child relationships
Those who have lost children
Those who have lost fathers
Those who have chosen not to be fathers
Those who yearn to be fathers
...to all of you, we celebrate you.
Happy Father's Day!
This month we recognize the people and efforts around the country that help families stay together. We also want to celebrate the families who have gone above and beyond to provide a healthy home for their children.
Watch the video below to learn more about reunification from National Angels’ Chief Program Officer!.
We need caregivers who are committed to being a lasting placement to minimize the trauma of our children and youth experiencing foster care. However, too many foster parents and kinship caregivers do not have the necessary support systems in place as they welcome children and youth into their hearts and homes.
75% of the licensed homes stop taking children within about 2 years. We know that many foster parents feel. isolated and undersupported, regularly experiencing high family stressors, lack of social connections, and financial and emotional strain. The turnover rate for foster parents is notoriously high.
Oftentimes foster parents feel overwhelmed taking care of children from hard places without support systems, and parenting within a complicated and complex system. They are at high risk of closing their homes or not having the resources to provide adequate care for children. The repeated trauma of placement changes has devastating consequences for the developing child and creates a deep sense of loss of family, home, and identity.
Jagger and Jordan understand how difficult fostering (and parenting in general) can be, so they frequently sit down with their Love Box family, Royce and Juanita, and ask questions to better understand how they can best support them. Jagger shows up every month by taking the kids out on bike rides and hiking trips, allowing Royce and Juanita to have time for themselves. Jordan will stay back and provide a listening ear by asking how they're feeling, how the kids are feeling, and through those questions, they get to build a genuine connection and alleviate some of the stress they might be feeling.
We advocate love, support, and care. Through our community-based approach, we hope to wrap around families so they feel better equipped to successfully and lovingly take on the task of fostering. We believe that placement stability is key for children and youth in care to grow, heal, and thrive. By walking alongside caregivers and getting into the trenches with them, they feel seen and empowered to continue providing integral support to children and youth by keeping their homes open.
Kristina was interested in getting involved with the Love Box program but didn’t feel she had the time to give, so she asked her friend Pavritha if she would like to volunteer with her. Pavritha has always enjoyed children and fell in love with the idea right away. While Pavritha was looking to volunteer her time, Kristina only wanted to give financially. However, once Kristina met the family, she knew she wanted to be involved in a bigger way.
Kristina and Pavritha were matched with a single mother of three-year-old twins. This was the mom’s first placement, so Kristina and Pavritha especially wanted to support her in any way they could.
“These kids are so much fun… We go to parks pretty much every month. And we have a big enough team that, depending on who can come, one might hang back with the mom so she can have some adult interaction, and some of us hang out with the kids. It’s been a lot of fun just getting to know the mom and what she’s been going through. I mean, I put her on a pedestal. There aren’t a lot of young women who would take this on, and she’s been doing a really good job with them.”
We believe that each of us has a role to play in changing the way children, youth, and families experience care. It's truly simple – all that is required is showing up. Showing up with your time, with your talents, with your resources. There is a family who could use whatever it is that YOU have to give.
A few years ago, Beverly became the caregiver and legal guardian of six of her grandchildren. The kids had been through a lot of trauma and various living arrangements, and were now all living with Beverly.
Beverly was referred to Austin Angels in 2018. Soon thereafter, she was introduced to her Love Box Leader, Caitlin, and a new group of passionate "Team Beverly" volunteers. Beverly recalls Caitlin and Max meeting her family for the first time, going in for a hug, and feeling an instant connection with them, "when the kids met them for the first time they loved them, it's like they are our family now." This support network got busy making sure that Beverly felt heard and supported, that her kids were loved on, and that the family could stay together.
Not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but anyone can invest in real, tangible support for hardworking caregivers, like Beverly, who are. By joining our Angel Alliance, you can do just that. Click here to learn more.