Why do I still foster?

Family Photo - Kids dahlmanOur story began 20 years ago when we fostered state kids (boys) for a few years. We closed our license when we moved and 7 years ago we opened our hearts and home to Native American children. Our first two littles were from the Salt River Pima Maricopa Tribe and we have been fostering for them ever since. It has been a journey of joy, pain, love and sorrow all wrapped up together. Until you walk in the shoes of a foster parent it is so hard to understand. Last year we were BLESSED to be able to adopt 4 of our foster children that we have had since they were infants. They are now 7, 6, 5 and 4 years old. What is amazing is that we are not tribal. We did not go into foster care to adopt. As a matter of fact, my husband had said ABSOLUTELY NOT when we were talking about adoption in our foster care classes. You see, my husband is 62 and I am 52 years old. We have raised amazing children that are all grown and range in age from 18-42 and we have 6 grandchildren. According to the world, we had done our share and now it was time for us to live for ourselves, enjoy life and put our feet in the sand. BUT that was not God’s plan for our family.

Since we adopted last year we have opened 3 more beds in our home to foster children. We now have 3 baby girls that are 2 months, 3 ½ months and 16 months old. So if you are counting, we have 7 children in our home under the age of 7! We have been asked why we still foster. Are we EVER going to quit fostering? When is it going to be enough?

My answer is not a simple one. But what I do know is that I have raised my children to know that they have been placed here for such a time as this. To make a difference in the lives of others. This life we have is not about us.  It is about what we have to offer others. Those who know my grown children will always ask me how I raised them to be such kind, loving and compassionate human beings. My answer has always been that I never made them the center of my universe. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children with all that I am BUT I made sure that they saw and had the opportunity to have the focus taken off of themselves and to give and pour into others.  Fostering and adoption has made all the difference in our family. We have chosen to stand in the gap for God’s orphans.

What better way to live life than to pour into the next generation? To give our hearts away over and over again will ensure that the children that come through our door will know how to love and trust. These are the two basic needs that, without them, they could not thrive as adults. I recently read that every foster child deserves our hearts to break when they leave our home. I truly believe and live that every day. Yes it’s painful when they leave but the alternative is devastating. Arizona has 21,000 children in foster care. How could we not continue to foster after we adopted? As my husband puts it, “We can still put our feet in the sand. We will just have pails and shovels next to them.”

Will we adopt again? My answer is that I don’t know. We were not going to ever adopt BUT God’s plans are bigger and better than our’s. And I love to build castles in the sand. How about you?


Karin Dahlman

Foster Mom

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