Under the Umbrella: Foster Dads

String of letters spelling DADWhen we think about caring for children, we often think of the traditional image of a mother providing empathetic and nurturing love to her children. But in today’s society more and more men are stepping up to care for children. Many of the Super Bowl commercials had messages of fatherhood and empowering dads to have a active and strong role in the lives of their children. Foster dads are no different, and they are often the unsung heroes when it comes to caring for children in need.

Dr. John Degarmo, a foster and adoptive father to over 40 children writes, “For many years, the perception of the stereotypical father figure was that of breadwinner and disciplinarian. The father would go to work during the day, come home after a long day at work to a cooked meal by his wife, place his feet up on the couch after dinner, read the paper and watch the evening news. Along with this, he might dole out some discipline to the unruly child in the home, all the while leaving the housework and child raising to the mother in the home. Today’s foster fathers must be much more involved in all areas of child care, not only for the benefit of the foster child, but for the benefit of all who live in the home.” (Read more at Foster Focus Magazine)

As Dr. Degarmo points out, taking care of a child is a 24/7 job and men play a critical role in caring for and shaping a child’s future. Many children in foster care may have negatively skewed perceptions of men and fathers. They may have witnessed domestic violence, endured physical abuse, experienced neglect, or their father may simply have not have been present in their upbringing. Exposing these children to loving and involved fathers can have a monumental impact on their sense of well-being and safety, and can also begin to change their perceptions on how they view men and fathers. When it comes to co-parenting with birth parents, foster fathers can also serve as role models and mentors for fathers who are trying to improve their skills as parents. Foster fathers come in all different shapes and sizes. They can be married, single, or in same-sex partnership. The one thing all foster dads have in common is a willingness to care for and help support a child in need. (If you’d like to learn more about becoming a foster parent, please visit our website!) We know that foster parents and adoptive parents can be faced with some challenging situations and that you all make sacrifices on behalf of the children in your care. Please know that we are here to support you. Please visit and save our website; there are a multitude of tips, resources, and information that may be helpful at various points along your parenting journey. You can also give us a call 1-800-762-8063 or send us an email at info@coalitionforcyf.org.

Under the Umbrella is the weekly enewsletter from the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. If you would like to sign up to receive this newsletter in your in box, please do so here.

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