By Kelsey Hazzard
I have had the honor of serving as a foster parent for the past two and a half years. During that time I have cared for twelve children: some just for weekend respite care, some for a few months, and two for well over a year. I currently have a house full of excellent teenage boys, pictured above (with their faces obscured in compliance with DCF rules). My life is many things, but certainly not boring!
Unfortunately, the heated emotions surrounding the abortion debate often lead pro-choice advocates to drag foster children into the discussion. It’s completely inappropriate. May is National Foster Care Month, which is as good a time as any to dispel some of the damaging narratives about foster care.
Children in foster care have lives worth living. I wish this went without saying. Are there struggles? Absolutely. No one comes into foster care without some amount of trauma; a child’s removal from biological family is itself traumatic, in addition to whatever abuse or neglect led to the removal. But trauma does not negate a child’s value. Nor does it negate a child’s joy! Like anyone else, children and teens in foster care enjoy their hobbies, friendships, birthday parties, and connections with their family members (both biological and foster). They are not better off dead, so stop suggesting that. It’s really gross.
Abortion is not the solution to the foster care crisis. There is a foster care crisis. Too many children are unable to live safely with their parents, child welfare departments are underfunded, there is constant turnover among social workers, and we desperately need more quality foster families. But unplanned pregnancies aren’t the source of these problems. Not a single one of the children in my care entered the foster system as an infant! It is very common for problems to arise later in childhood: a parent dies, develops an addiction, or is incarcerated. These circumstances are not predictable before a baby is born. So unless your “solution” is to encourage abortion in every pregnancy, the argument makes no sense.
You could be a foster parent. Yes, you! You can be single and get licensed. You can work full-time and get licensed. I know because I did it. Granted, a single working mom won’t be the ideal fit for every child. The placement staff take lots of factors into account. Some children need two foster parents, or a stay-at-home foster parent, or a foster parent with medical expertise. If that’s you, so much the better. But plenty of foster children just need the basics: a safe, stable, loving environment. Learn more about the process to become licensed.