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Finding Family: The Reverberating Joys of Fostering Teens

Nurturing Hearts, Changing Lives, Building Families


Explore the transformative journey of fostering teenagers in our blog post, "Fostering Teens: Nurturing Hearts, Changing Lives, Building Families." Discover the profound joys of reshaping family dynamics, finding purpose, and contributing to positive societal change through the power of fostering. Join us on this heartening path of empathy, growth, and joy. #FosterCare #Family #Empathy #SocietalChange


"To foster a teenager means to journey together toward development, understanding, and love - initiating a cycle steeped in empathy, growth, and joy."

According to The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS, 2020), over 400,000 children reside in foster care across the United States, nearly half of whom are teenagers. Although fostering a teen may not be the conventional path, there are untold rewards nestled within the experience that one might overlook. This blog post aims to explore the multifaceted joy that arises from fostering teens, highlighting it as a heartening journey that leads to the birthing of a newfound family, a sense of purpose, and crucial societal change


The Blossoming of a Newfound Family and A Deep Sense of Purpose

Our perception of family is continually shaped and transformed based on our interactions and experiences. When a family takes the leap and decides to foster a teenager, they invite the possibility of recognizing familial bonds in a fresh light. As aptly described by Shipman & Shipman (2017), "Families are not only born by blood relations...they are built on foundations of love, nurturing, and trust" (p. 76). When a family ushers a foster teen into their heart, they allow a beautiful family dynamic to bloom that is grounded in empathy, respect, and mutual understanding.


With this comfortably innate relationship comes a profound sense of purpose. Mehrabian & Epstein (1972) note that humans thrive when there is a purpose in life (p. 203). Fostering a teenager creates that purpose. The satisfaction derived from guiding and supporting a teenager during their vital adolescent years is immeasurable. Parents evolve, undergoing personal growth while imparting crucial life lessons and witnessing their foster child mature and overcoming challenges. This simultaneously exhilarating and fulfilling experience aids in strengthening the emotional bond within these newfound families.


Contributing to Societal Change

Furthermore, fostering teenagers generates a ripple effect of positive societal change. The National Review conducted an investigative study which revealed that foster care teens are prone to feeling socially isolated (Smith, 2019). By offering a safe home and supportive environment, foster parents directly affect the confidence, self-worth, and resilience of their foster teens leading them towards greater personal and academic achievements. Young adults, who had previously felt disenfranchised, can transform into contributing citizens when they feel seen, heard, and loved.


In conclusion, the joy gained from fostering teens is multifaceted and permeating. It poignantly reshapes our understanding of familial ties, imbues a profound sense of purpose, and vigorously propels societal change. To foster a teenager means to journey together toward development, understanding, and love - initiating a cycle steeped in empathy, growth, and joy.


References

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). (2020). AFCARS Report. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Mehrabian, A., & Epstein, N. (1972). A measure of emotional empathy. Journal of Personality, 40(4), 525-543.


Shipman, K. E., & Shipman, C. M. (2017). Fostering resilience: Raising a child with a sense of self, worth, and independence. Routledge.


Smith, S. (2019). The Foster Care System: What Parents Wish We Knew. National Review.


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