Give the Gift of Family

FosterCareFamily300Imagine everything you know about migrants and refugees forced to flee from war, gang violence, persecution, abuse. The loss of home and loved ones. Fear and uncertainty. Survival means an often dangerous journey.

Now imagine that person fleeing for freedom is just a child. He or she might be 14 and on the run from turmoil in El Salvador. Or he or she might be 8 years old, alone after losing parents to military conflict in Africa, Southeast Asia, or the Middle East.At LIRS, we believe that the best way to make sure these children are both safe and equipped for a brighter tomorrow is to place them with a foster family. We have a network of heroic service partners across the country with specialized foster care programs, but more foster families are urgently needed.

It’s no small thing to give the gift of family. It takes an open heart to accept a child or young person into your home from another culture. It takes time to provide an environment in which that young person can thrive. It takes passion for nurturing a young person into independent adulthood.

You might welcome a child into your family for a few weeks or several years. There will be challenges and there will be joys. Most importantly, the child will be better equipped for the future and your life will be forever enriched.

Interested in learning how you can become a foster parent? Click here.

Download the English Foster Care brochure here.

Download the Spanish Foster Care brochure here.

Watch the “Give the Gift of Family” video below

Meet Paul, former foster child

Meet Azi, former foster child

Meet Roger and Elizabeth, Foster Parents

What interested you in becoming a foster family?

We knew other families in our church who had [fostered]. We had just bought a house and were empty nesters. But our house had many bedrooms and lots of space. We felt God had put the pieces together for us to do this.

What did you wish you knew before you became a foster family?

The day to day cultural differences. It is both fun and challenging to bring totally difference cultures together in the same home and family.

What advice would you give to people thinking about becoming a foster family?

If your heart is tugging you, follow it. You will be glad you did and richly rewarded.

 

Meet Jan, Foster Mom from Michigan

What interested you in becoming a foster mom?

My husband and I decided to foster four boys with our biological children because we had a desire to do good for others and share the resources God has given us. The blessings of fostering include learning about other cultures, helping a child feel safe, and watching them go from a stranger to a vital member of the family.

What has been your favorite moment as a foster mom?

Shortly after our first foster son arrived, I took him for a walk and asked if it was okay that we would be getting another foster boy soon. He said, ‘I don’t care. I am happy. I have brothers and sisters, a mom and dad, a church, and no soldiers. I am happy!’

What advice would you give to people thinking about becoming a foster family?

Prepare to be in it for the long haul. Have fun and give yourself time to grow to love them. Invest all you can into them because if you stay with them, your investment stays with them.

 

Top Qualities for a Foster Family

  • Passion to invest in a child’s future and create a new family together
  • Time to spend with the child daily, time to take the child to medical, counseling and other appointments, time to meet with and learn from foster program staff
  • Openness to learn about your child’s culture, country and background and a willingness to share your culture as well

Each family is Unique! Just as children’s stories are unique and diverse, so too are the stories of the families who foster them. Foster families come from diverse cultural backgrounds, are single or married, have children or have no prior parenting experience.

You are never alone! You are connected to LIRS partners, caseworkers, and receive training and support throughout your experience to help guide you through your journey of fostering an immigrant youth.

Process to Become a Foster Family

  1. Learn about becoming a foster parent for immigrant youth. Connect with a LIRS partner site or make an inquiry here.
  2. Become a licensed foster parent. Each states timelines and requirements are different but typically include:
    • Attending an orientation session;
    • Completing an application;
    • Providing references and documentation of financial stability;
    • Fingerprinting and background check;
    • Interviews with the family;
    • Home study assessment.
  3. Get Trained. Foster parent training is typically 6-8 sessions plus specialized sessions on fostering immigrant and refugee youth.

Top LIRS stories about helping children

Lutheran Social Services of Michigan Videos Show the Power of Standing for Welcome!
Protecting Refugee Kids
The Lutheran Spotlights Work of LSS/NCA, LIRS to ‘Resettle Young Refugees Who Are On Their Own’
“Congolese Orphan Starts a New Life in US After Surviving Beatings and Gangrene,” UNHCR’s Chris Murphy Writes on Child Resettled by LIRS
Immigration Reform 2013: Can It Empower Kids Caught in the System?