Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Being A Foster Carer - Family!

I was doing some research in preperation for the new addition to our family. A beautiful young 15 year old girl. I am excited (as you can tell).

Anyhow, I came across this touching article and decided to share it with you all. Many of you have probably had the desire to foster for quite some time now. Please read this article and decide is fostering is for you.

I will share this; it is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. No words could describe the feelings I get when I know I have made a positive impact on a child's life. To see the results in "real life" is ...just amazing! For as long as I live, I will be a foster Carer! God willing.

This article was copy and pasted from Canadian Living Magazine

A young girl arrives at your door in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on her back. Her hair is matted from not being washed for weeks. All she wants is to feel her mother's arms around her, but her mom is incapable of giving her the care she needs. The child's home has been shattered by abuse and alcoholism, but it's the only home she knows. The girl is holding the hand of a social worker and looking up at you, wide-eyed with fear. You gently reach out to take her hand and welcome her into your home.
As many as 76,000 children like this young girl are in need of foster care in Canada, and child welfare agencies are desperately trying to find homes for them. It isn't always easy to care for foster kids – they may have emotional or behavioural issues due to abuse, poverty and neglect – but the foster parents we spoke to believe caring for these children has made their own lives better.

Glenda Nelles and Rick O'Brien
Snapshot: Glenda Nelles, 48, a former law clerk, and Rick O'Brien, 45, the owner of a distribution company, have three daughters between the ages of 16 and 22 from Glenda's first marriage as well as a biological son, Kyle, 9, and an adopted daughter, Rebecca, 6. They live in Markham, Ont.

Why they foster: When Glenda saw an ad in 1998 in the Toronto Star requesting people to foster infants, she felt the words were speaking directly to her. “One of the happiest times in my life was when my children were little,” she says. Glenda decided to cut back on her hours at work to a part-time position so that she could foster and also be home with her then two-year-old son. Initially Rick was concerned that children coming into their care from abusive backgrounds might not be a good influence on his young son. “When I found out we could put an age limit on the kids we took, I was all for it,” he says. Currently they're fostering three children under four years of age.

The experience: Over the past six years the couple has fostered
20 children, for as little as a few days to as long as 16 months. If they hadn't gone into fostering, they would never have adopted their daughter, Rebecca, who came to them when she was just four days old and couldn't go home because the neglectful situation hadn't changed. “By then she was 18 months old and we were her mommy and daddy,” says Glenda. “After that we agreed we weren't going to adopt anymore, but our kids still want to adopt every baby that comes into our home – they can't understand why we have to let them go,” says Glenda, who tells her kids that it's better for the children to be adopted by other families than remain in foster care.

Greatest joys: “When you work in an office you are lucky if someone tells you once a year that you are doing a good job. When you are fostering, you feel like that every day,” says Glenda. She says the greatest reward is witnessing the change in children who are loved and cared for. “Even though they've had a terrible start in life, it's amazing the strides they can make,” says Glenda. Rick takes to heart that he may be the only loving father figure these kids ever know. “They've been exposed to a lot of the lousy things men can do,” he says. “When they come here they experience the nice things.
The happiest experiences are those where children in their care find a loving permanent home. “We had two babies that were given to us straight from the hospital, and we raised them for more than a year,” says Glenda. “Then they were adopted by families who had no kids – that was the best.”

Challenges: One of the toughest experiences foster parents face is saying goodbye to a child they have bonded with and grown to love as one of their own. After caring for one little girl for
16 months, Glenda was devastated to have to let her go. “She was clutching my shirt, and it was heartbreaking,” she says. She admits it has become easier to say goodbye.
It can also be challenging to deal with the biological parents of children in care, especially when you know how their destructive behaviour has hurt their child. But these kids love their biological parents, and as a foster parent you need to respect that, says Glenda. “No matter what horrible things you know they've done, you have to work to be on good terms with the biological family and never say anything negative about them to their kids.”

Words of wisdom: “Love isn't always enough,” says Glenda. She says it's important to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by Children's Aid, such as courses in caring for high-risk infants, dealing with developmental issues and responding to signs and symptoms of sexual abuse. “You also need a strong support system, and you have to connect with other foster parents so that you know you aren't alone in dealing with some of the challenges,” says Glenda.

Words from ME!
"Most important thing; is to build trust. Care for these children; genuinely. Be patient. Encourage them. Uplift them. Observe what their gifts are and the areas they can excel and play on that. If I had someone by my side at 12...14 years of age...who took note of what my gifts were, I would be a best selling author today. Or a mighty good lawyer (lol). So today, I am determined to build my children and inspire them to be the best they can be." Elizabeth Correia

1 comment:

  1. Liz I am so interested in being a foster carer and have been for quite sometime, but I don't know who to speak with or how to start. Can you let me know who to contact and speak with so I can become a foster carer? Lots of love your childhood friend Shelley