BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — If you’ve used TikTok, you’ve likely seen your fair share of dance videos and trendy recipes. Well, one Birmingham woman has taken to the popular platform to break down some misconceptions behind being a foster parent.
Brittany Burcham is what you’d call a cool foster parent. But it took one of the foster children staying at her house to convince her to hop on TikTok.
“She really just convinced me to talk about fostering teenagers because she said there aren’t a lot of people talking about fostering teenagers and talking about the good parts of foster care,” Burcham said. “There is lots of negative stuff but nobody talks about doing it right and doing well.”
Burcham is a quickly growing name on TikTok with over 700,000 followers who uses her videos to spread the beauties of fostering children right and well.
“I try to talk about in general and really address the heart of it, which means that these are actual people,” she said. “These are actual kids at the heart of this – you can diagnose them, you can label them, you can have these stereotypes but at the end of the day when you actually meet them, people are really surprised. They’re like ‘they’re really normal kids.’ They’re just normal kids.”
She’s also made it a mission to break down some of the misconceptions behind foster care.
“A big misconception is that you have to be married, you have to be settled and have a home. You don’t. It’s really just a willingness to help. You also don’t have to have.”
“Another misconception is that if you foster, you have to adopt. There’s a lot of people who are just like, ‘we’ve got two kids, we don’t want to adopt anymore.’ The truth is foster care is not about adoption. Foster care is a temporary safe place for a child to go while the family works on what they need to work on to parent that child.”
“That’s another myth not a lot of people realize is you can absolutely rent an apartment and foster. You don’t have to own a home, it doesn’t have to be some big 5 bedroom mansion. I’ve got an extra room and an extra bathroom and that’s where kids stay when they come to me.”
“Kids just really want a safe, clean and nice place to stay with nice people.”
She shines a positive light on foster parenting in hopes that her words, dances and TikToks resonate with her viewers.
But if nothing else resonates, she hopes this does:
“People think you’re going to make killer money getting into foster care. I actually saw a TikTok where someone said, ‘you want a side hustle? You should become a foster parent.’ “The truth is, it’s really hard to make money in foster care if you’re doing it right.”
For those who do it for all the right reasons:
“You’re going to learn so much, you’re going to laugh so much, you’re going to have so much love in your heart,” Burcham said. “It amazes me every time I get a new kid, how fascinating and wonderful and how amazing it is that I get to be this tiny little part of their lives. It just doesn’t get old.”
Burcham recommends anyone interested in getting involved in the foster system should reach out to the Department of Human Resources or talk to your local adoption agencies. You can find Burcham on TikTok @fostertheteens.