Video Collection Shares First-hand Experiences of Foster Parents and Children
By Christopher Findlay, Senior Marketing Manager
Lutheran Services in America’s national network of member organizations is a primary leader in child welfare issues. With over 100 of our member organizations serving children, youth and families in 43 states nationwide, our member organizations’ services offered range from counseling, housing, residential treatment, health care and mental health care, to early childhood education, charter schools, and detention alternatives.
Another major area of focus for our member organizations is foster care and adoption. Raising children in foster care is one of the most emotional but positive experiences that exists. National Foster Care Month is an important time for recognizing the demands that come with parenting a child in foster care, and spotlighting the challenges kids face when adjusting to a new home while coping with past traumatic experiences. As such, this month presents us with the opportunity to offer sincere gratitude to the dedicated parents who touch so many lives — particularly given our continuing shortage of available foster parents and children in need — as well as the children who courageously embrace life-altering change.
We invite you to view this collection of illuminating videos from foster care and adoption organizations within the Lutheran Services in America national network. These moving, interesting videos give first-hand accounts from children in foster care about how stable homes and compassionate caregivers make a world of difference for them, and from adults on how rewarding it is to care for children as foster parents. Each video highlights the experiences of foster families with uplifting stories that stem from parents who opened their hearts and homes to youth who needed safe and stable homes.
The videos below, provided just in time for National Foster Family Appreciation Day on May 31, offer inspiring family stories from diverse perspectives. We invite you to share them on social media (#LSA2gether #ThanksFosterFamilies).
The Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program at Ascentria is the only program in New England that exclusively assists refugee and migrating youth.
“I don’t think of them as my foster parents, I think of them as just my mom and dad.” — Mang from Burma
Why Become a Foster Parent?
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Ron Guhl’s own experiences inspired him to become a foster parent. Through parenting, Ron found his own way to give back to the community.
“You cannot put a price on a child’s life or a child’s future.” — Ron Guhl
Therapeutic Foster Care at LSSND
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota
There are more than 437,000 children in foster care in the United States. LSS North Dakota is searching for foster parents who can give kids the extra care and attention they need to thrive.
“The simple act of caring is heroic.” — Edward Albert
Make a Difference
Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota
Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota offers children safe and nurturing environments. Learn more about LSS South Dakota’s foster care services: www.lsssd.org/what-we-do/child-adolescent-services/foster-care.
“We need LSS to fight for these children … They find the foster parents that are willing to fight for these children.” — Krista
Raising God’s Children
Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
Jill and Randy Plifka have welcomed more than 40 foster children into their home. For the Plifkas, it’s about granting a better future in life for the kids and fulfilling God’s plan. Find out what it feels like to change a child’s life.
“I’ve finally found what my purpose on Earth is.”
Danielle’s Princess Adoption Day
To help celebrate five-year-old Danielle’s adoption, Samaritas Foster Care Services arranged to have eight Disney fairy tale princesses present during the adoption hearing.
Upbring Foster in Texas
One of the biggest challenges for foster parents is figuring out what children in foster care have experienced and how best to help them cope with certain issues over what can often be a short span of several months.
“One of the most important things we can give the children is a kinship family — a stable, safe home.” — Neil Cavazza
Trigg’s Story — Adoption Through Foster Care
Trigg was placed into foster care when he was born. For Stacy and Drew Langstraat, knowing that Trigg could go back home to his biological parents was a hard-hitting truth.
“I think you guard your heart a little bit, especially knowing that the options are you guys or the biological parents. It’s going to be one or the other, and only time will tell.” — Stacy Langsraat
How Can You Get Involved?
Action from the entire community is needed to continue the development of new approaches to the challenges facing children, families, caregivers and providers involved in the foster care system. Lutheran Services in America is encouraging further collaboration through the Results Innovation Lab, which provides network organizations with the tools and resources they need to engage local partners through results-based leadership.
Working together, the Lutheran Services in America network is pushing ahead to drastically change the lives of countless children nationwide. You can find out more about Lutheran Services in America’s moonshot goal to ensure 20,000 vulnerable youth are nurtured and placed on a successful path to adulthood by 2024 at www.lutheranservices.org/results-innovation-lab.