Fostering Wisdom: Foster Dads Share Lessons From Their Kids

Father’s Day honors the father (or father figure) in your life who guided, mentored, coached and challenged you to become the best version of yourself on your journey from childhood to adulthood.

But what if your father figure is a foster dad, who only had a few months or years to instill a lifetime of wisdom ?

The task sounds large, but often its impact can be too. So this Father’s Day we’re sharing some of the lessons foster dads have gained from the kids they’ve cared for.

Bernie Lattner – Humility

Foster / adoptive dad Bernie Lattner

So I’ve just learned a lot of humility in approaching kids in their space and understanding how hard it is for them to bring up a lot of the things that they’ve gone through.

But to have that space and earn their trust is so worth it. I just had a boy I had here a year ago call me because he was trying to figure out his taxes. He’s like, “Hey, I’m doing my taxes. Today’s tax day. I got to get this in. What do I do?”

I’ve been able to create lifelong connections with many of these young people. They always know they have at least one place they can come back to. I am humbled to be that place for them, to take that call.

Terry Gray – Opportunity

I have the opportunity. I have the means. Why wouldn’t I foster? I have that desire to, but also I feel likeI have the responsibility to do it as well,.

I have people in my life now who have aged out of the foster care system, and I’ve seen how they’ve struggled. I even have one guy who was my tenant, and now he does my concrete work, and he still asks me for advice,

“How do I do this or that?” Like, “How can I get a car loan? How do I budget?”

It definitely opened my eyes to weird things you wouldn’t think of. The first time we went to the sporting goods store they had an escalator and it was the first time on the escalator for the boy I was caring for. He was like like, “How do I get on?” He is 17 years old; it’s crazy. The thing it really opened my eyes to is what they’ve missed.

Catlin Young – Support

When it comes to asking for help or getting help, I’ve never met somebody who was a part of a WRAP support team for a foster family who was half-hearted. People who support foster families are all in, and they really, really care. And once you find out they care about both your bio and foster kids, it’s a easier to open up to them.

When you start off in foster care, it’s nice to know someone speaks your same language. They might not even be a foster parent, but they know what you’re going through. You don’t have to explain every situation. You don’t have to save face. These people really care.

Even though you’re a single or foster parent, you’re only a single as you want to be. You can bring in as many resources as you need to make the load bearable and have the best outcomes for the kids.

Bernie Lattner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *