CHALLENGE WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW.

Kids and families experiencing the foster system are your friends, your neighbors, and your co-workers. They’re our community. And each individual has a different story. Fostering Family has gathered stories from some of our partners, showcasing the many different ways people can foster family.

Take a moment to read, watch, and listen to stories from people who have been impacted by the foster system. Then, visit the Take Action page to learn how you can support them.

For Connor, Connection Leads to Confidence

Connor brings lived experience to his work advocating for representation and awareness for the transgender and foster youth communities. He plans to major in theatre in college and hopes to become a voice actor. He found employment and learned professional skills through Fostering Family partner Juma that have helped him have the confidence and network to pursue his goals. Read his story on Juma’s blog.

READ MORE AT JUMA.ORG >>>

WATCH: BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO OPEN UP

After eight years in foster care, sixteen-year-old Wes was not expecting for his next placement to feel like an actual family. Foster parents Laurie and Ken were determined to show Wes their support, through thick and thin, and help him find his path. “Whenever I’ve fallen hard, they’ve never turned away from me.” Watch Wes explain the importance of being open-minded in this video from Skookum Kids.

I’m Helping My Son Feel Secure Despite Difficult Conditions

Sara Werner knew that reunification with her four-year-old son would be hard. She was worried that he’d miss some of the luxuries he’d had while living with his foster family. When they reunited, Sara says, “he was just happy to be with his mom.” Read Sara’s article in Rise Magazine about how she puts in the work every day to make sure her son feels loved and secure.

READ MORE IN RISE MAGAZINE >>>

WATCH: MORE IS MORE WHEN IT COMES TO FAMILY

That is the philosophy embraced by Katie and Jonathan Biron. The Birons are determined to provide their two adopted children—including one who was adopted from foster care—connection with their biological families. Starting small and over time, both birth mothers have remained in their children’s lives, and the Birons have developed a close relationship with their youngest son’s biological family. “Our situation is unique,” Jonathan says. “But it doesn’t have to be.” Watch their story to expand your definition of family.

Think you could never be a foster parent? That’s what we thought

With nearly 200 children spending multiple nights in hotels or government offices last year, there is a severe need for foster parents in Washington state. Stereotypes of foster care almost convinced Andres and Kristina that they weren’t fit for the job. Respite foster care offered another means to open their home to children and youth who need it and connect to their community. Want to learn more creative ways to support youth in foster care? Read their story in the Seattle Times.

READ MORE IN THE SEATTLE TIMES>>>

WATCH: CULTURE MATTERS: CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY’S BLACK KIDS

People of color are disproportionately represented in the foster care system due to systemic racism. In Washington, black kids are 2.2 times more likely to enter foster care than white kids, and there are not enough black foster parents to care for them. Foster parents and a young person who was formerly in foster care speak to how important it can be to black kids to be placed with black foster parents. “I often imagine how my life would be different if I was raised in a black home,” says Brittany, an alumna of foster care.

LISTEN: ASK A FOSTER PARENT

Listen to three women about the ups, downs, joys, and heartaches of being a foster parent. Sarah, Ashley, and Lisa shared their thoughts and experiences at KUOW and Amara’s Ask a Foster Parent event. “If I knew how difficult it would be,” Sarah says, “I don’t know if I would have done it. But that would have been a tragedy, because it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

WATCH: WE ALL NEED SUPPORT TO SUCCEED

When a young person enters the foster care system, they are often separated from their family, school, and their network of support. They have to uproot and start over, hindering their education, wellness, social activity, and outcomes. Hear from Tyler, Angel, and Fernando about what they need to achieve their dreams in this video from The Mockingbird Society.

Find out what you can do to support the full constellation of people impacted by the foster care system.