13 May It Takes A Village
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. In this blog Bethany Wright-Goetzinger, a local foster and adoptive parent shares her journey of becoming a trans-racial foster parent and the importance of building meaningful connections and a support system for her family.
When my husband and I welcomed our sons into our home we had more than 40 hours of foster parent training under our belts. We were CPR and first aid certified, knew strategies for putting kiddos at ease in an unfamiliar place, and had a slew of de-escalation techniques. Regardless of how much training we had we knew we could not do this alone. Like all parents we strive to make sure our children feel loved, physically safe, and emotionally supported. Equally important is ensuring our bi-racial sons develop a strong sense of community and self. No matter how much love is in my heart, I know that my love alone will not be enough to help my sons become strong Black men. In order to help my sons thrive I must continuously work to expand our village and ensure that they are surrounded by a community that will love and nurture them. This process goes far beyond learning how to care for their hair and skin. Our sons need to have adult role models who look like them and can relate to their lived experience.
When choosing a new daycare we had to consider not just quality and cost, but also whether or not there would be other students who looked like our sons. We need to be intentional even with things that seem mundane like which book to read or show to watch. All children need to feel represented and seen both in the world and especially in their own home. I had another white foster parent ask for advice on whether they should consider taking in a child of a different race given that they lived in a very rural area that lacked diversity. My response was that it depends. As parents we have a great deal of control over the community we build for our children. If we build a diverse support system the entire family benefits, but it does require intentionality and humility on behalf of the parents. It takes a village to raise a child. This adage is true for all parents but its necessity increases exponentially for transracial adoptive families.
Learn more about the process of becoming certified as a foster parent or respite provider by attending St. Joe’s informational meetings here.