My conversation with Jacksonville foster parents

The Robinson familyIt’s hard to look at the sheer number of children in foster care and not have your heart break a little.

I know mine does.

Julie Bruce, director of foster care at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes Jacksonville campus, said the need for foster parents is critical. With more than 12,000 children currently in foster homes, Bruce is always willing to talk to families who want to find out more about being a foster parent.

Bruce said the most critical need is for families who are willing to take older children and those who are able to take sibling sets.

Ashley Robinson and her husband were licensed to become foster parents through the Children’s Homes three years ago and have fostered two sibling sets—a set of two brothers and a set of three sisters.

While Robinson is pursuing adoption with the children she has fostered, Bruce reminded me that not all children in foster care become available for adoption.

“The No. 1 goal for these children is reunification with their biological family,” she said.

Robinson said it can be hard to let go of a child knowing they might not be going to a stable place.

But if you feel called to become a foster parent, Robinson said you can’t let the fear of what could go wrong keep you from stepping out in faith.

I had the honor to talk to some strong foster mothers for a story that will appear in our April print edition, and it renewed in me a commitment to pray for the children who need care and the families brave enough to step out and make a difference.

Would you join me in praying for them?

And be sure to catch their words of wisdom about being a foster parent in April’s paper!

Nicole Kalil is the Jacksonville-based reporter for the Florida Baptist Witness, the official news source of the Florida Baptist State Convention.

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