Categories for Foster Parent Experiences

“I am too attached and more than ok with that – you would be too!”

Author: Kelly Zarle – Foster Parent with A Door of Hope

People say ‘I’ve always wanted to foster but I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t get that attached.’

Really? You can’t? Because I think if you can love at all if you can attach to anyone in your life – you can foster.


Broken down in its simplest form isn’t fostering just representative of the human experience to vulnerably love someone? Shouldn’t that really be our goal for all of our relationships?


Think about it.


Stripped down, isn’t it how most of your greatest relationships started? How your best friends, children, spouses came into your life?


Someone unexpectedly comes into your life, they have their past, you have yours, you both are flawed, seemingly ‘hard to love’ human beings at times. You learn to work together, along with all of the outside forces in your lives that affect your relationship. You work desperately not to give up on one another, you build a relationship based on each person loving the other to the best of their ability for as little or as long as you have together, both never guaranteed tomorrow.


At some point it will be over, you will say goodbye. It’s inevitable, at some point in your life you will let go of everyone you have ever known.  Yet while you have one another you strive each day not to let that fear stop you from loving them NOW. You will, of course, be heartbroken with every goodbye but you will go on, each bettered because of the lessons learned and the time you spent together. This is precisely foster care. This is exactly every relationship.


So I ask you, is it really that different than any other relationship you’ve had? Is it that complicated after all? Or are you just trying to avoid loss wherever you can because life is hard? It’s understandable, it really is, but love and loss go hand in hand. You can’t avoid one without denying yourself the other. 


I get it. To love is to be vulnerable. The vulnerability is scary hard, but in this day and age what isn’t?

Can you imagine this very scary world of unavoidable grief without your core ‘people’ to support you? Now, on top of that, imagine being a child in it. Then if that wasn’t enough, imagine someone telling you, that scared lonely child, “no I am sorry I can’t take you in when you need me most; I can’t love you, simply put – because I’m afraid to lose you.” That’s what we are saying when we say “I’d get too attached.” We are saying “I fear loss, so I am also choosing to forego love no matter the cost.” When put like that, does it sound different to you? Can you see how a child knowing a loving home far outweighs any risk we may take in loving them?


My prayer for everyone that has foster care on their heart is that they wouldn’t let the fear of loss paralyze them, but the hope of love drives them. It’s not that I  think everyone should foster but I know way too many people that want to do it, would be great at it but think they can’t. I want everyone to know they can!


Think about it, is it that you really “can’t” or is it that you are afraid? Because if fear is what’s stopping you I can promise you the kids are worth conquering that fear. Everything truly worthwhile always is. The same way all your loved ones currently in your life have been worth it this whole time and always will be to you.


Love is always worth it. Living out the Gospel will never let you down, saying you can’t always will. 




Author: Kelly Zarle

About the Author: I am Kelly, the wife of Aaron and mother to three of the loudest, quirkiest, sweetest little bundles of chaos ever to exist! They all are the center of my world! Orbiting around them are my amazing friends, loving family, and my crazy mutts! They are all my world and this is my take on it. I write for myself because I find that writing about my life helps keep it all in perspective and provides me a sense of gravity but I also love to over-share and so that’s how this blog was born! See more here:

Encounter with the Cross

Eight-year-old Sebastian entered the Cooper’s home with bright eyes and a head full of lice. The last ten hours had been a whirlwind. All he knew was that he was in a stranger’s house with a mom, a dad, and another young boy named George.

The first night consisted of an awkward dinner and figuring out where Sebastian was going to sleep. Luckily, their two dogs helped him feel more at home and he enjoyed their dog kisses. Later that night, Sebastian’s curiosity led him to explore his new home. The cross and picture hanging above George’s bed caught his eye. Sebastian turned to his foster mom and said, “I’ve seen that death symbol before, I know it’s important.”

Scary Movies. Vampires. Skunks. Smelly Dogs.

Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment.

When children are removed from their homes for reasons like these, child protective investigators must conduct an in-depth investigation. Why? Because we want to know as much about that child as possible in order to match them with the best foster home available. One of the many questions children are asked is what they dislike. That way, if a child is deathly terrified of dogs for instance, we’d be sure not to place them in a foster home that breeds dogs!

Recently, a young girl just under 10 years old was asked what she disliked. She simply answered, “Scary movies. Vampires. Skunks. Smelly dogs.”

Oftentimes people assume foster children are different. But the truth is that at the end of the day, they’re just like all other children…and they are just like OUR children. These are children who, by no fault of their own, have been taken away from their parents because of their parents’ decisions.

6-8 children are removed from their homes throughout Tampa Bay every day. These are children with unique gifts, special talents, and simple fears like “scary movies, vampires, skunks, and smelly dogs.” Our hope and prayer is that these children will be seen for who they truly are: just kids. And our desire is to place them in a Christian foster home where they will–many times for the first time–experience safety and unconditional Christ-like love.

I have seen children cry countless times

I have seen children cry countless times. Many times as a parent to our now 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, but also in my previous profession of being a Police Officer and Detective.

The night of July 9, 2015, was different though. She was weeping, not crying, not having a temper tantrum, but actual gut wrenching weeping.

Our foster daughters, who have been with us for just over a year now had just come back from a visit with their mom. The visit had taken place at their mom’s apartment, the apartment that has a bedroom all set for them to go to if a court approves.

Our 4 year-old-foster daughter was confused. Before leaving the apartment she asked her mom if she could get her pajamas from “Dan and Teri’s house” and come back to sleep in her bed.

If she has a bed, why not sleep in it? If she has a mom, why not live with her? If she can be there for two hours, why not stay the night? These were questions I know her little brain was struggling to answer as she laid in bed that night back in our home.

What was my response to her weeping? I knelt down, wrapped my arms around her and held her while she wept, tears filling my eyes.

While holding her I prayed. I prayed for Christ to heal her heart, prayed for her to KNOW she was loved by a perfect Father, a Father that would never leave her.

In John 10:9, Jesus tells us that He is the door and that if anyone enters by Him they will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

This truth is why we are A Door Of Hope. We humbly understand that the Lord is using His church and Christian foster homes to share the unconditional love of Christ with children in crisis.

Thank you for supporting the work of this ministry.