By Monica Cannon, Foster Parent Engagement Specialist

I had often thought of the many children I had served at the group home and missed them. I knew there were so many children out there who still needed homes and my heart was tugging for me to get involved again in some way. So three years after I left the young people at that group home, I returned again full-time to my heart-work but this time, recruiting foster parents.

Now, I search for families who have the desire to take a child into their home and make a lasting difference in their lives. I am often asked by interested foster parents what we looking for in a foster parent. I first clear up many of the misconceptions of fostering – you don’t have to be married, or own a home – you can be single, you can rent.

But I do ask them – does your heart have room for this child? I ask them if they possess the capacity to love a child, guide them, and care for them through all of their painful circumstances? The days when a 10-year-old child may call you a *itch or when a teenager wants to punch a hole in your wall. Do you possess the grace to share your heart and home with this child who has had horrible things done to them, who is trying to make sense of their rejection and hurt, who is dealing with loss, grief and trauma? If you can walk alongside them during one of the most difficult times in their young lives, then yes, you can foster. And in doing so make this your “heart-work.”

The journey will be a tough one – you will feel drained and at times feel like your heart has been ripped out and trampled on. But the upside is knowing you are making a life-changing impact in a child’s life. And you may not see or feel that positive impact – there won’t always be praise, thanks, hugs and tears coming from these young people. But just knowing you are making a difference, can help get you through each day of this journey… it can help you through every *itch you are called and for every door slammed.

Because sometimes, just occasionally you may see this child express a barely there smile, or you may catch a different glimpse from them… and in their very own, unique way they are saying “thank you for making me your ‘heart-work.'”

Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here