A Foster Mom, Fosters Hope
May 05, 2016 | Karen Ferrell
“Can you take a 12 year old girl? Can we come in about an hour?.”
This statement is usually how it starts. Child Protective Services (CPS) goes to a school to interview a child who has been a victim of child abuse or neglect. The student is then removed from school and told, “You are going to come with me and I am going to take you somewhere where you can be safe.” The child is placed in an office where they wait. While they wait, CPS workers start calling foster care agencies looking for a place the child can go. “Do you have an opening for a child? Can you take an African American 12-year-old?”
What has the child been through? What kind of behavior does the child have?
These are all questions swirling through the mind of a foster mom before the child comes to their home. The child is taken to the foster home, sad, afraid, nervous, angry, and tired. They are in a stranger’s home with no idea what is about to happen. But, I can tell you what is about to happen. The child will be met with love, care and concern by their new foster mother. See a foster mother is a special kind of mother. They love and care for children who are not theirs biologically. They provide for the daily educational, emotional and social needs of children who have been removed from their family until they can be reunited with their parents. Often foster mothers do not get the recognition they deserve but they are truly doing the work of God. In a moment’s notice foster moms have to get ready to take a child into their home. They have to get clothes, prepare a bed and personal space for a child they have never met. Foster mothers get children enrolled in school, examined by medical professionals and take them to counseling.
Psalms 10:14 says, “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
Meet Maria Cottman
Ms. Cottman is a foster parent at UNIFY Child Placing Agency. She has been foster parenting children for over 15 years. Ms. Cottman currently serves adolescent girls ages 12 to 16 who have developmental and intellectual disabilities, severe behavioral challenges and who have suffered various types of abuse and neglect. I had the pleasure of asking Ms. Cottman few questions about being a foster mother.
K: Why do you foster?
M: There are so many children out here who have no one to love them and help them be successful in life. I just want them to know that they are loved and they can have a family.
K: Tell me about what it like for you when children leave your home and go back to their biological family?
M: If I know the move will be healthy for them, I’m happy. If know that child is still having problems, then my heart goes out to them and I keep them in prayer. My main goal is to help kids stay safe and help them build their faith.
K: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in dealing with troubled children?
M: The biggest challenge is getting troubled children to love themselves, understand that they are not worthless and that their lives have value.
K: Where do you see your faith come into play when you foster?
M: I see God working through me, when I see changes in the children I foster. I see God when they learn to love themselves, when their self-esteem rises, when they make strides in areas where they are weak, and when people doubt them and they still become successful.
K: What do you try to teach foster children about God?
M: No matter what you go through in life remember that God loves you and he can help you get through anything if you believe in him.
K: What are your biggest dreams for yourself as is relates to fostering?
M: I would like purchase land so foster kids can come and enjoy activities like horseback riding, tennis, fishing, and really make a “mini resort” for foster kids to come and enjoy life while they are going through healing from trauma and being away from family.
Psalms 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” If we are striving to be like God then we must do what we can to help children in foster care who need someone to be there for them just like Maria Cottman does.
For more information about foster care or helping children in the foster care system please contact Karen Ferrell (Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org).