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Foster parents deserve recognition

Dear Editor:

May is National Foster Parent Appreciation Month, but as far as we are concerned, this should be a daily event.

Foster parents are some of the most generous, caring and compassionate people we have the pleasure of working with. These families open their homes and their families to children and youth in difficult time. They provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment, sadly for some children this is the very first time in their young lives they have experienced this. These families role model the positives of a family and help reassure the child that they have value and are not the reason their family is in conflict.

Growing up in a home where my parents were foster parents was a humbling experience. We never knew who would be at home when we got off the bus and it didn’t really matter. Each and every child was welcomed into the family, unconditionally. Don’t get me wrong, some fit in better and longer than others but each touched our lives and hopefully we did theirs’ as well.

Foster parents will share stories of how years later one of the children who was placed in their home will call or stop by just to let them know how they were doing or show off their own children. Some share, with tears in their eyes, “I didn’t think we had any impact on him/her.”

That is what makes being a foster parent so great. They are there when a child or young person needs them, for whatever time frame is needed. They are not guaranteed a long term relationship with the child but they know they can make a difference in a life even if it is for one day. If you are a foster parent-thank you. If you know a foster parent-thank them for all they do. If you are an extended family member or friend of a foster parent the most important thing you can do is support them and welcome the foster child into your family just like you would a child born or adopted into their family. Foster parents can’t do it alone, nor should they have to.

There is always a need for more families who are willing to become a foster parent.

To learn how you can help a child or youth in need contact Huntington County Foster Care Specialist, Kyle Gibbs at kyle.gibbs@dcs.in.gov or visit www.IndianaFosterCare.org.

- Jan Williams, Executive Director