Twenty Years of Caring for Children in Foster Care
Heather and Bill have been fostering children for twenty years. They decided to share their beautiful story with us.
My husband Bill and I have been foster parents since 1999, but we didn’t start out knowing right away fostering would be our calling. One afternoon when all the neighborhood children were sledding in our front yard, I noticed a six-year-old boy I had never seen before. I learned later this adorable child was living in foster care and available for adoption. I knew instantly he was in my yard that day for a reason and I had a deep desire to bring him into our family. I knew we could help him and love him and fold him into our family. My husband was quickly on board and we found ourselves becoming certified as foster parents. After four long years of advocacy and care, we were able to formally adopt that six-year-old boy and welcome him into our family permanently. It was the best day.
After moving to Oregon with our family, we decided it was time to foster again and we became re-certified and worked as therapeutic foster parents for six years. Due to various circumstances, fostering took a toll on our family, our hearts and our souls. We had to stop fostering and felt confident we would not take the challenge on in the future. We were done.
We all know we should never say “never” because we have been drawn back to foster care after our daughter began working for Boys & Girls Aid in a program called The Nest. She was passionate about the children being served in this program. She saw the need was high to find foster parents who could love these young children with all of their trauma and all of their behaviors. After listening to her, my husband and I knew we had to help and took a huge leap of faith and decided to foster again. We became certified with Boys & Girls Aid and are foster parents for The Nest. We are having such a great experience fostering these children. Boys & Girls Aid staff are with us 100%. They are supportive, empathetic and flexible; they have a strong desire for us to succeed. It’s evident that Boys & Girls Aid really cares about the children they serve and really cares about their foster parents. We have a wonderful team of foster parents, and have enjoyed getting to know them, as we gather together and share our victories and struggles, week after week!
Being a foster parent is very rewarding as we see child after child do a 180 degree turn in their behavior as they settle into a safe, secure, loving and supportive home. It is a privilege to show love to these kids and hope that we will have a lasting impact in their lives! I would be lying if I told you that it is without pain. We do experience grief every time a child leaves, and it is hard on our health, but that should not stop us from helping these children - who else will!