With you by our side, we can ensure foster parents, children and their families have the circle of support they need to reach their full potential. We can each play a part in enhancing the lives of children in foster care and their families.
Foster parents offer children unconditional love and take on the difficulties, the responsibilities and the joys that come with parenting. While attending to all of this, they are asked to support connections with children’s families which is critical in facilitating reunification when indicated.
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois stands alongside our foster parents to ensure they have the resources and support they need to care for the children temporarily placed in their homes. We also work with the birth families to help them access services, so they have the opportunity to have their children returned to their homes.
All of us together, including you, are a part of the support system helping foster children and their families reach their God-given potential. A great example of a foster parent who embraces her role and the mission of LCFS is Robyn.
Robyn began her journey to become a foster mom in 2017. “I was trying to think about what I would do after I retired and I thought I could help kids. And that’s what made me think about foster care.”
Having made the decision, Robyn looked into different foster care agencies and chose LCFS. “I picked LCFS because they were a Christian organization.”
Being a foster parent changed Robyn’s life in ways she never imagined. “It was the beginning of the best experience of my life. I’d never had kids of my own, so it became a whole new world.”
Thankfully, Robyn had a great support system in place to help her navigate this new world of parenting. Not only did LCFS support her at every step, but friends, neighbors and co-workers all came forward to help. They provided clothing, supplies, baby-sitting, advice and more. “My community gave me the support I didn’t even know I needed.”
Robyn also believes in being a critical part of the circle of support for the parents of her foster children. “The moms I’ve worked with all have similar situations, either broken or no support systems. They just need resources and help. I’ve realized that whatever’s happening with the parents and whether or not they will ever get their children back or not doesn’t matter. They still love them.”
Currently, Robyn is living out that philosophy with one of her moms, Keisha (not her real name). Keisha’s three children came into care due to neglect, caused by her struggles with stress and depression.
“I learned that Keisha had aged out of the system, so she didn’t have the natural supports that most of us have in family and that sort of thing.”
Keisha’s children were in Robyn’s care for about three years. During that time, Keisha never missed a visit and with the support of LCFS and Robyn was able to strengthen her capacity to adequately care for her children. Shortly before the children were set to return home, their LCFS case worker called Robyn and shared that Keisha was struggling to arrange child care. Robyn immediately contacted Keisha and together they made a plan for the children to remain in their current daycare and school with Robyn helping to pick them up and care for them when Keisha couldn’t.
“I’ve learned that poverty isn’t a reason for a person not to have their children. And if I really care, that caring doesn’t stop because they aren’t in my care. I tell all my moms that this is a forever family and I’m always here for them.”
“People shouldn’t look at foster care like it’s saving children. It’s about helping families.” LCFS’ foster parents really are selfless people doing the right thing, just to do the right thing.