Research confirms it: children raised by their biological parents in a stable home enjoy advantages over those raised in foster or kinship care. That’s why child protective services promote family reunification, whenever possible. That’s also why ReUnite Ministries was born.
“We created this ministry to restore mamas, but also their kids,” says ReUnite Program Manager Tionna Green. “We know from firsthand experience that these children suffer enormously when they’re removed from their families. That’s why we counsel them and their mothers. Only through a complete healing can our program meet our goal: reunifying families.”
According to researchers, foster children—especially those moved from one foster home to another—often lose the ability to make emotional attachments. Their hope for a permanent home can fade to fear and then anger, which triggers temper tantrums, foot-dragging, stealing and deliberately trying to frustrate their foster families. Anger may evolve into depression and over time indifference. These children believe no one cares, so why should they. What’s the use?
Stunted Emotional Growth
“The result is traumatic,” says Marcia Messer, ReUnite Ministries’ primary counselor, referring to the often negative effects when families lose custody of their children. “These kids don’t grow emotionally. They can be immature and have poor social skills. They become stuck.”
In addition to delayed emotional development, foster children might struggle with authority figures. They are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, among many other problems recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, or become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
“The research is overwhelming,” Messer adds. “Children inherently need their mothers. They bond with them in the womb. They love and identify with their mothers. Girls will try to protect their moms, and so do boys. It’s devastating to them when they can’t.”
ReUnite’s months-long program focuses on restoring mothers and giving them the tools they need to become the parents God intended them to be. However, children need help, too. “We counsel our moms and all family members, including children. Only a holistic approach will help our families work through their issues and heal,” Messer says.