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Professional Foster Parenting

Why should you want to become more professional as a foster parent?

Children are often taken from one abusive situation to foster care - where the abuse cycle continues. You don't have to search far to find foster children's stories that are not so favorable. In the early days of foster care, there was prominent abuse. A few snippets are posted here:

In her book, Three Little Words, Ashley Rhodes-Courter writes about her experiences in foster care and group homes. She speaks of experiences of psychological and physical abuse as well as manipulation and how the professionals always took the word of the foster parents over the children's complaints or concerns. Her story is very well told. When she is an adult and had been adopted, she writes an autobiography. I highly recommend reading it from the foster parent perspective as well as for the foster/adoptive child and parent interaction. Ashley's adoptive mother is very wise and did many things right. I gleaned a lot from her example in the book.

One Example of A good foster Family

A little girl lives with a family for seven years in foster care; one day she finds out she has a sibling that looks like her. She finds out that she is going to be moved. The little girl is obviously bonded with her foster family but can you imagine the confusion she experiences from this event? Why would this happen? What kind of system would uproot a child after staying with a family since infancy? Read more about this story (and other foster care stories) here:

Foster Child

For foster parents to get past the bias of abusive, money-hungry, self-serving adults, we must become more professional. We must foster for the right reasons. There must be a passion for helping underprivileged children. We don't want to have the perception of Miss Hannagan from the movie Annie. She was a pathetic version of a human being, make less a 'mother' figure to the girls. She was more worried about drinking and getting a man than molding young ladies.

I discovered that so many people get involved in fostering for the money and not to make a lasting impact on a child’s life. But I had a few good short-term, or respite, foster parents, and they are the ones who are still in my life today. To me, the foster parents who didn’t want to foster full time were better mentors and parents. Brittany Hines Clark,


The following stories represent real foster families that have "cared for" children who are the most vulnerable. This makes me so sad - sick to my stomach:

My own friend, Kayla, has even lived the horror of foster care. Here is her story:

Looking Ahead for Us...

I want so much better for the foster families that I interact with. I want to seriously impact the children's lives so they can try to have a somewhat normal existence - hope and future. Could it be possible to thrive? Could we impress value on them? Heaven forbid we starve them or treat them like dogs. God forbid we deny them the food - both physical and emotional that they need to grow stable.

Respectable, loving foster family

Foster families need to get past the negative stereotypes of wanting to do this for the money, abusive tendencies, and apathy. We need to be the professionals that will assist the children in overcoming trauma, generational issues, poverty problems, and abandonment that they have experienced. Foster parents need to educate ourselves in the best possible way to gain the respect of the others in the system - albeit broken.

Foster parents are often the only people who are actively fighting for these children; hopefully, we are. However, because of the stereotypes of the news, past behaviors of other foster parents, or the system itself, we may not have the clout that we need to have a voice.

There are many ways to become more educated in the foster care system. The most important areas to educate ourselves would be in the following: child psychology, child development, abuse and neglect, trauma, sociology, parenting, and attachment. (I'm not talking about the mandatory classes that you take to become foster parents. They are a start, but don't give you a meaningful beginning to the burden that you'll be bearing and want to successfully carry.)

We should do our research and become more professional.

Educate Yourself

When we have issues with our children, we educate ourselves and ask questions. The ways to educate ourselves are to find others who have gone through similar circumstances with their own child - their own foster child or adopted child. I hope that you have a great support group. My next post will be all about support because of this factor - education and support. We cannot do this professionally and sanely on our own.


A great way to educate yourself is to read. There are a plethora of books written on subjects such as these regarding foster children and child development. Remember that our foster and adopted children are not 'normal' in their development. They have had difficult beginnings, so they do not have the typical developing style or sequencing. Their emotional age is usually behind that of their age-mates. Keep that in mind when researching.

Online Research

Research through websites dedicated to the issues that you are having. I am working toward that on with several posts on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) to be written in the future. I have experience in this area and researched this topic on my own for years. I'm going to focus on this is because I failed to recognize it for a few years and was blind to it for several more years. So I want to help others for their foster children's future. There are others online that want to do the same with other topics.

You can also use "scholarly articles" at the end of your google search to lookup more medical and research-based articles on your topic.

Medical Professionals

Medical professionals are available to assist as well. Therapists who will get on board with you and listen to you are great for assisting with problems and concerns that you have. Ask them questions and for research materials.


Don't give up. You will find the answers. Don't forget to listen to the child. Listen to their actions because "actions speak louder than words" - especially in foster children. is a video that I did that will explain more about being professional. It is part one of two part series.

The only way to reach the world is to become something altogether other than the world. That is what we have in Christianity. - A. W. Tozer, Delighting in God
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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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