Perhaps you’ve begun reading this even though your response to the title was that you couldn’t imagine you want to foster children at all, let alone a teen. Great! Stick with me!
I am sure I can share with you why you really want to foster a teen!
If you are not sure you understand teens, let alone that you like them, you are in good company.
As a teen myself, I found it difficult to relate to my peers.
As an adult, I haven’t found it difficult to remember, with a cringe, the attitude my family endured.
And as a mother now myself, I find I must remind myself daily how massive everything felt as a child, still so as a teen, and what relief adulthood has brought hormonally, though the responsibilities are many.
The opportunity to volunteer with Milwaukee Teen Reach Adventure Camp (MTRAC) gave my husband and I new eyes for teens.
This national program, designed specifically for teens in foster care, evolved from the Royal Family Kids Camp (RFK).
Their mission is to transform the future of children in foster care, interrupt the cycle of their daily stressors with trauma-informed quality time and play that instills in them a sense of security, belonging, and value.
Once we met these teens, we couldn’t resist joining them for the mentor program the following school year.
In our relationship with these teens in foster care, we experienced a determination and a light we had never seen in anyone before.
As our own journey as foster parents progressed, it was only a matter of time before it brought us to fostering teens ourselves.
And let me tell you, you want to foster a teen!
Skip the potty training in parenting in fostering a teen!
Teens, in general, have developed into the less physically-dependent years of childhood.
I know you can appreciate it with me, no more diapers!
No more accounting for every minute of young boundaries and young motor skills, whether they are a greater risk to themselves or your home!
Savor the sense of humor in fostering a teen.
Teens are funny.
They see what we see globally and can share it with us, but with younger eyes.
It’s hard to say if we, or our teens, believe less how close the years seemed when we were almost as cool as them.
See the potential blossom before you in fostering a teen.
It’s true; in fostering, we see children live through experiences we can’t imagine going through ourselves.
When fostering young children, we have a role in their lives we aren’t sure they will remember, but we hope no less, as their lives carry on without us, they lead someplace beautiful.
Teens are right upon the years of making their lives their own. We get a unique chance to witness how they set out to reach their goals and the role we could play in that.
Spend time in fellowship with your children in fostering a teen.
As teens do near the years of making their lives their own, yes, there are challenges to dominance.
There is also solidarity and a friendship that is available with teens that simply isn’t possible with young children, whose vantage point is so much farther from your own.
Appreciate that nothing lasts forever in fostering a teen.
For every moment that is just too much, likewise every moment you are sure to miss, for all of whatever time you’ll have together, this truth resounds.
The love, structure, and commitment you were able to share, just for a time, that’s forever.
It will change you more than you could ever hope to pour into the teen from hard places in your life.
There is a light you can only imagine once seeing it wake in the eyes of a teen from hard places who realizes she has the potential to be whomever she aspires to be.
There is a love you can only know because you’ve chosen to lead and partner with a teen from hard places through some of the hardest of times, for all of you at times, no doubt.
There is a joy you realize through the opportunity to walk alongside a teen from hard places into victories you’ll never have known without her.
You want to foster a teen.