Happy Mother’s Day, including all foster moms

Happy Mother’s Day! And a very special Happy Mother’s Day to the incredible women who have chosen to be foster moms! These women have a heart for children who so badly need the love, nurturing and stability they provide. There is no “typical” foster mom – they come from all walks of life, family structures, religions (or not), education levels, and career paths. The common thread that ties them all together is the love and commitment they wholeheartedly provide to the children who need them.

I am privileged to work with several fantastic foster moms. I have tremendous respect for each of these women, and they amaze me every day with their compassion, patience and tenaciousness. I asked some of the moms I work with a series of questions, and their answers were beautiful, powerful and directly from their hearts. Here’s a sampling of their responses.

1. Why did you decide to provide foster care?

“We’ve wanted to adopt since we got married, and thought we would pursue it through the foster care system, but it was always sometime in the future, when our biological kids were older. But a few years ago, we heard a speaker talking about how being pro-life was more than just not liking abortion, but about caring for families and children, too. And God used that to open our eyes to the need for foster parents in our area, and we realized He was leading us to foster.”

“Our family decided to do foster care for many reasons (the need, to help, the love of children) but the main reason being, no matter how long or short the stay, or how big or small an impact you think you have on a child, that child carries that experience with them the rest of their life. So I try to make it a good one, that long or short stay may help them on their journey of life and the experience may be a ray of sunshine in their life to help them get through those bad days, so I try to make the days I have with them good ones.”

2. What is the best part about fostering?

“Snuggling my foster babies, seeing them bond with each other and with our biological sons, seeing the biological parents make progress, and seeing the love they have for their kids and the love their kids have for them (even at such a young age).”

“Everyone on the team coming together for the same goal – reunification with the family if at all possible, but whatever is in the best interest for the child.”

“The many smiling little faces, hands to hold and cheeks to kiss goodnight!”

3. What is the worst part about fostering?

“Watching parents struggle with their lives coming undone, and not being able to get it back together and the children suffering because of it.”

“Seeing the anguish on the biological mom’s face when she drops her kids of at my house with the case worker.”

“The exhaustion – four kids, with three of them under the age of three!”

“The tension between wanting to see these children grow up but wanting them to be able to go home to their parents, too…the question ‘do you get to keep them’?”

4. What was the most unexpected part of fostering?

“Getting placed with TWO babies! Having so many people help – bringing us food and baby things, helping to clean my house, etc.”

“The feelings of both wanting the parents to succeed and feeling like they don’t deserve the kids – all at the same time.”

“What a roller coaster ride the system can be not only for the parents and foster parents, but for the children. We try to shield and protect our children from as much as we can in life, and in this process anything is possible.”

5. What is the most gratifying part of fostering?

“At the end of the day, when a child is happy, healthy and with a family that has continuous love and support for them, whether it be a biological, foster or adopted family!”

“Being asked to be a godparent for the youngest foster baby”

“Hearing all the kids, bio and foster, giggling together.”

“Seeing the boys faces light up when I walk in the room, just like my bio babies did when they were little.”

Thank you, and Happy Mother’s Day, to our wonderful foster mothers who open their hearts and their homes to all of these children.

We have a need for foster families in our local area! If you are interested in becoming a licensed foster family, please contact me at 487-9832.

Dolores Kilpela is a licensing specialist fir U.P. Kids.