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Tabrizi: The joys of being a foster parent can offer purpose — and vital respite for Arizona’s youth

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Yasaman Tabrizi
By Yasaman Tabrizi | Point of View

May is National Foster Care Month and is a time to learn about what being a foster family is like as well as how to support your local foster community best.

According to the Department of Child Services, there are over 9,000 foster children in Arizona; however, our state only has 2,000 foster parents. That’s only one foster parent for every five foster children.

One of the most striking aspects of foster care is its often abrupt nature. As a foster parent, you may receive a call at any moment, informing you that a child urgently needs a safe and loving home. This suddenness can be both exhilarating and overwhelming as you navigate the whirlwind of emotions while preparing to welcome a new member into your family.

Amidst challenges like this, there are countless heartwarming experiences that come with being a foster parent. Local foster parent Brittney is currently fostering her nieces. She says of her experience, “Fostering and dealing with the good times and challenges that come with it has opened my eyes to how beautiful motherhood is.

I’ve learned that children don’t have to come from me for me to love them like my own! Since fostering and meeting others in similar situations as ours, I have learned to keep an open mind and heart and it’s shown me how strong mothers are and how fearless we will be to protect our kids’, biological or not!”

Teresa Hernandez, another foster parent, beautifully encapsulated the bittersweet nature of fostering, expressing a deep longing for their daughter to overcome her struggles and reunite with her parents, while simultaneously cherishing the opportunity to provide them with love and stability. It’s a testament to the complex emotions foster parents navigate, balancing hope, grief, and love in equal measure.

Fostering creates a profound sense of empathy and compassion. Foster Parents can see beyond the behaviors and traumas of their foster children and recognize their inherent worth and potential. This empathy is the foundation of the nurturing environment they are able to create where children feel seen, heard, and valued, laying the path for healing and growth. It is also an opportunity to observe the strength of the children in foster care. Despite facing unimaginable hardships, foster children often exhibit remarkable resilience, teaching invaluable lessons about courage, perseverance, and the power of love.

The biggest requirements of a foster parent extend far beyond providing a roof over a child’s head. It’s about creating a nurturing environment where they feel safe, loved, and supported. Community becomes essential in meeting these needs. Foster parents require a robust support system, including social workers, counselors, and fellow foster parents, who understand the unique challenges and triumphs of the journey. This sense of community provides invaluable guidance, reassurance, and encouragement, helping foster parents navigate the complexities of the system and the emotions that come with it.

The Foster Alliance works tirelessly to provide this support and you can too. If you want to learn more about how The Foster Alliance can help you become a foster parent, or how they help ease the stress of being a foster parent, visit thefosteralliance.org.

The Foster Alliance also has many opportunities to volunteer, donate, and more for Arizonans looking to become a #FosterAlly.

Editor’s Note: Yasaman Tabrizi is the program manager at The Foster Alliance

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