It Takes One Adult to Spark Inspiration
You can come into your full potential no matter who you are, regardless of how you identify.
As a dedicated trainer supporting the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in systems of care, I have the honor and privilege of teaching my peers about all the ways they can support children and teens from this community. LGBTQ+ children are often forgotten in the system, overrepresented, and left without permanent families to call their own. Many of us have heard the statistics, some of us have experienced them firsthand. So why should you join us in changing the life of a child? One of our parents, Jess*, recently adopted an adolescent to ensure that they would experience stability after having been in foster care since infancy. Jess shared with us, “The rewards make it all worth it… foster kids are just as worth it as having your own.”
We can celebrate one key fact: it takes one adult – just one – to tell a young person they will have a future. It only takes one. “You can come into your full potential no matter who you are, regardless of how you identify. And, I think that to have good, supportive people who will help kids reach their full potential, that’s what we want,” continues Jess, “I wanted to make sure that [they were] going to live in a home that would nurture that side of [them], and that was a pretty big part of our life. I feel like I’m in a good position to normalize that part of [their] life.”
Becoming a resource parent is a big decision. People often feel like they’re not ready now or that they never will be ready. Here’s what I want you to do: as a member or ally of the LGBTQ+ community, think about who you have around you as your supportive network. Think about your experiences, positive and negative, and who helped you navigate them. Those are the people who will help you now, too. That’s your village. Some of the simplest forms of support you can offer can be a huge change for a young person. “Initially I think [I provided] calm. I think what [they] needed was somebody who wasn’t going to overreact to every little thing. And, so I provided a really calm sort of nurturing, steady environment for [them].” In addition, Jess has used community connections to ensure that the youth is knowledgeable of available resources so they can thrive.
Many people seek to foster babies and younger children, but reality is that there aren’t a lot of babies in the Child Welfare System, but there are children and teens, quite a few who are LGBTQ+, who need families too. They can still have experiences they’ve never had, “There are so many more things that you can do [with older youth]. I think that getting an older kid provides you with the opportunity to do things right away that you can’t do with younger kids: teaching them new things, going on vacations, and experiencing new moments together that they never had the chance to growing up. That is so rewarding.”
Resource and adoptive parents have changed the lives of children who might otherwise have wondered if they would find acceptance and hope for the future. You can provide hope, too. We believe in you. Call us today to find out why we think you’re ready to help the children of our community know they are worthy.
Contact: Daniel Sederquist, Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 344-0199.
*Note: Names and identifying details were changed to protect the confidentiality of the family.