What our foster parents say...
“My husband and I decided to become foster parents after seeing how many needy children were out there. My heart went out to them. I love doing foster care and am so thrilled to see the changes the kids make and how happy they are.”
“I love working with LSS (now Ascentria Care Alliance) because their support team is just super. They are there 24/7 to give support and answer any questions I might have.”
“The most rewarding experience is to see a child overcome fears, gain self esteem, become stronger academically and see their perceptions and goals shift based on their new experiences. When this happens, it makes it all worthwhile.”
“Foster care is a selfless gesture to our young people and also teaches my biological children to care and understand the needs of others. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. We have to start the village with one home at a time.”
What our foster children say...
(14-year-old girl) “I have been in foster homes almost my whole life. I never liked being a foster kid until I came to this house. The feelings that I have of being a foster kid is that I feel special. My foster mom is like a friend to me. We all do a lot of great things like the movies and we dance together even if she is old. (47) We go out to eat and learn good manners. I have nice new clean clothes that other kids didn’t wear. My foster mom is the best mom I never had. I hope I can stay with my foster family forever.”
(12-year-old boy) “I have been in many foster homes, residential and hospitals. I like my foster home because I have two fantastic foster parents that take care of me and love me to the bottom of there (sic) hearts. They feed us well and they give us stuff like cake and candy. That’s not all they do. They buy us toys and foods most foster kids don’t get. The best thing is yet to come. They let us have tvs and not just a bed and a bureau. We have closets to put our nice new clothes in. My clothes have only my name on them.”
(10-year-old girl) “I can tell that my foster family cares about me because they show me that they love me and they treat me like part of the family. My foster mother always takes me on vacation no matter where. She buys me more clothes than I need. My foster mom is wonderful and my foster dad is fantastic. My foster family is incredible.”
Becoming and Remaining a Foster Parent, by Sondra Brake & Family
Published in Common Ground Magazine
I am thankful for being asked to write this article. It has given me time to reflect on why we became foster parents and why we, as a family, continue to provide foster care.
We wanted a family soon after marriage. I unfortunately had a miscarriage. My mom, who became a foster parent while I was in college, came over and suggested we look at the possibility of becoming foster parents. She was fumbling for words, suggestions, anything to help us come out of our sorrow. ...the more love we give, the more we receive. Her idea resonated. My husband agreed to go to the classes and consider it.
We went to the classes, wrote our autobiographies, had the health and fire inspections, visit with the licensing worker, etc. After a few months we were foster parents to a four year old boy. He had a positive reunification with his family after living with us for 10 months. I had become attached. I cried emotionally in my car after saying goodbye. We decided not to continue to foster. That was it. We were done.
A couple of weeks later we received a call about a two year old girl who needed a long-term placement. I discussed it with my spouse. He said he would support whatever decision I made. I went to meet her. I played with the idea that IF there seemed to be a way to bond, I'd consider it. We're glad we made that decision to continue fostering. She's sixteen now and upstairs sleeping.
More children came and went; up to four children in our small house at one time. Fifteen children through the years. An infant boy came and stayed. He's ten now and upstairs sleeping. We took a break from fostering to meet some emotional and behavioral needs of our son. I kept thinking about foster care during the three year break. I missed it.
We knew we would need a well thought through match of a child and our family. Due to our son's need of consistency, we knew we would require a long-term placement in order to begin fostering again. We decided to look at Lutheran Social Services (LSS)(now Ascentria Care Alliance). We had heard from some foster parents and through foster family chat rooms on the Internet that Lutheran was a very supportive social service agency. This would mean a therapeutic child. Were we up for that as a family? We decided to have a look at it.
We became therapeutic foster parents through LSS (now Ascentria Care Alliance). We met with their licensing worker. We were impressed with the support at our first meeting and continue to be pleased with the support Lutheran (Ascentria) provides to our foster child, to our family, and to the birth family. There's another bundle of joy, an 8 year old redhead, upstairs, asleep.
We could have stopped fostering at any point. We didn't. Why not? What kept us going? Was it the compliments we received from others? Was it pride in ourselves? Was it pure giving? No. It is not pure giving. As a wise woman recently wrote in a card to us, "For it is truly in giving that we receive." I sometimes tell people that I can"t begin to give these children what they give me. I've grown so much being a foster parent. I've had the opportunity to meet many people dedicated to making a child's life better, received training in many areas, improved my parenting skills, and my family has gained and grown in ways too numerous to list. The real reason we continued... the more love we give, the more we receive.