We are so glad that you have found the Centre for Life website, and more especially this section of the website about foster care. We have been foster parents for eight years and in that time we have cared for seventeen children, from age 2 days to 19 years old. Some have been a part of our family for only a few months, while others have been a part of our family for several years. Some of our children returned home to their forever families, while others found their forever families and were adopted.
Being foster parents is one of the most rewarding parts of our life. Welcoming a young child into your home, who has been removed from his birth family is however, not surprisingly, challenging. Whatever has facilitated their removal from their birth parents, they still need time and space to process the deep grief they experience in being removed. One of the privileges of being foster parents is getting to help children through this sort of grief, so that they are not embittered as a result of it. Foster parents are educated about, and helped through these sorts of challenges, by social workers in the government department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development.
In order to be a foster parent in Newfoundland and Labrador, individuals or couples need to apply through the government department of social services. The intake process is necessarily intensive and can be a little off-putting for applicants. Let us say clearly, you don’t need to be a perfect family to be a foster family! There are no perfect families! But you do need to understand the unique challenges which go hand in hand with caring for children who are not your own. We need to remember that these children have been through profound trauma in their young lives and therefore social services needs to insure that the families with whom they are placed are emotionally and relationally stable.
Perhaps the biggest challenge often raised by people thinking about being foster parents is the challenge of dealing with the inevitable departure of the child. The truth is, this is a great challenge. However, the joy of having cared for the child until he is reunited with his birth family, or until he finds his forever family sustain foster parents through their own grief at their departure. We often affirm that it is difficult when children leave, but is that difficulty sufficient to refuse to help? What is the alternative? They live in residential alternative living arrangements? As foster parents we also have a team of supportive social workers, the foster families association, and other foster parents who can help us through these difficulties.
If you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent, we would be more than willing to talk with you about it. Please contact the Centre for Life and they will connect you with us. Fostering has become a life passion for us, and we’re very open to helping others find the same enjoyment we have found.
Sarah and Darrell Critch
If you would like to connect with Sarah and Darrell to learn more about adoption and fostering please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put adoption or fostering in the subject line.
For general information on fostering in NL visit the government website
Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association