Let’s talk real.

If you’ve believed any of the statements below, you’re not alone. There are many misperceptions about foster care that can stand in the way of saying yes to a child. Dispelling myths and sharing the truth is a cornerstone of our mission. Take a look below and learn more about the honest and life-changing choice that can be foster care.

Perception vs. Reality

Perception

Children in foster care have too much “baggage” to be loved or succeed.

Reality


This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. Children in foster care - just like all children - have enormous potential to thrive given love, patience and a stable environment. There are an endless number of foster children who have not only lived a perfectly happy life, but have gone on to be incredibly successful. Former U.S Senator Ben Campbell and Minnesota Viking Dante Culpepper were both foster children who were adopted by caring adults.

Perception

My biological children could be affected in a negative way.

Reality

In reality, the complete opposite is usually true. The majority of foster families believe their children are greatly impacted by fostering and it is an overwhelmingly positive experience for the entire family. Parents are sometimes surprised by how much fostering benefited their own biological children and their family overall - just as much, if not more than the foster child.


Perception

Only urban areas need foster parents.

Reality

All areas in Missouri need foster families willing and able to care for a child.


Perception

I can’t be a foster parent because I would get too attached.

Reality


It’s true — you will get attached, and it will be painful when children you love eventually leave. But these children have suffered through things no child should ever face, and they need the love and care foster parents provide when they open their hearts and homes. You are giving these children a gift by caring about them. For some of these children, it is a gift they have never received before.

Perception

Most foster kids end up getting adopted.

Reality

This is not true. The goal of foster care is permanency, a permanent, stable and loving home. Often this means with the biological family or some other relative or family friend. For those foster children that can’t reunite with their family, we do end up finding a permanent family ready for adoption.


Perception

The love I have to give will make everything perfect for the foster child.

Reality

Love can be an anchor for a foster child, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy or makes everything perfect. Due to the trauma of the abuse/neglect a child may have suffered - in addition to being separated from their family - foster parents should expect children to grieve these losses as they work through past trauma. Foster parents can expect a wide range of emotions and behaviors as children process what’s happening to them, as well as the uncertainty of their future. Foster kids won’t automatically be “happy” or return that love to you simply because you show them your love -- and that’s okay.


Perception

You don’t have any control over the types of children who get placed in your home, whether they are perfectly healthy or have a disability.

Reality


When you go through your home-study and training process, you specify to your licensing worker about the ages, backgrounds, health and genders of the children you are comfortable caring for. When you are asking to care for a child, the workers share the information they have with you and you have the right to say "no" to that particular child. With adequate notice, you also have the right to ask for the removal of a foster child if you are uncomfortable.

Perception

All foster children are grateful to leave their home and be with a new foster family.

Reality

Despite the abuse/neglect a child has experienced in their birth home, they almost always love their birth family and want to return home. Birth family connections are extremely strong and should be honored despite the circumstances that brought the child into foster care. Only in rare circumstances are there children who don’t want to return home. Even in those cases, the kids still love their family and want to retain some type of relationship with them.


Perception

The child needs to forget his/her past trauma experiences and doesn’t need to talk about it.

Reality

The child’s past is a part of who they are and must be honored by foster/adoptive families. Children should be encouraged to process what’s happened in their lives so that they can heal and become mentally and emotionally healthy. If foster/adoptive families are uncomfortable with a child’s past, they can’t help children to be comfortable with it.

Perception

Foster children must have their own room.

Reality

Foster children can share a room with other foster kids or the family’s biological children. Kids age six and older must share with those of the same gender. Babies under 2 years of age can share with foster parents.


Perception

If it doesn’t work out, it means I’ve failed and may make things worse for the foster child.

Reality

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If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you gave them the love you had and provided a safe place to live, but it may not have been enough for some reason. We don’t have control over how our foster kids process and handle all of the trauma and neglect they may have experienced. And as a team, we work with you and the foster child to do what’s best. We believe these foster kids know you care and somehow that makes an impact, even if they have to leave your home at some point.


Perception

The purpose of foster care is to provide permanent homes for children.

Reality


The purpose of foster care is to provide a temporary home for children until their family achieves stability.

Perception

All children in foster care have some kind of physical, mental, or emotional handicap - that’s why they are classified as “special needs”.

Reality

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Yes, all kids in foster care have had some trauma in their life, they have just been taken from their families. But no, all children do not have a physical, mental or emotional handicap. The term “special needs” in the foster care system can mean that the child is older, a minority or requires placement with his/her siblings. They simply have identified specific needs for these children.


Perception

Fostering can be expensive.

 

 

Reality

There is no expense to become licensed; however, there are natural costs to raising a child. The agency provides financial assistance when children are placed: monthly stipends, health care insurance for the children, free daycare services for families who work or attend school, clothing allowances, etc. Adoptive parents enjoy the similar benefits though the amounts are slightly less. Legal fees for the adoption are covered by the state.


Perception

I’m too old to be a foster parent.

Reality


Foster parents must be at least 21 years of age but there is no maximum age limit. Good physical, emotional, and mental health are required to become a foster parent. In reality, almost one in four adopted children lives happily with an adoptive parent 55 years or older.

Perception

You have to have a clear background check.

Reality

Applicants don’t need to have a clean history. Any arrest or issue that comes up in a background check will be processed and reviewed with the applicant. Charges don’t necessarily prohibit licensure. A determination will be made depending on the severity of the issue, the circumstances surrounding the charge, and the length of time that has surpassed.


Perception

You must keep the birth order within your household.

Reality

Foster/adopted children can be older, younger, or the same age as the birth children in the home. It’s up to the family and their licensing worker to explore the pros and cons of the acceptable age range, taking into account the unique needs of the children already residing in the home.


Perception

You have to be married to be a foster parent.

Reality

Anyone can create a loving home for a foster child. Foster and adoptive parents can be married or single. A strong support system is helpful though, regardless of your situation.


Now that you know the reality about foster care and the lasting impact it can have on the lives of children in need and your own family, check out Our Process and Get Started today on your foster care journey.