Foster care Q&A with Foundations Health & Wholeness

November 14, 2019

We asked, they answered! Foundations Health & Wholeness interviewed several of our licensed foster parents in the Greater Milwaukee Area to help shed some light on commonly asked questions/thoughts regarding foster care. Please read this, and know we value your questions and will always provide honest answers to help you make the best choice for your family regarding foster care. A huge thank you to our foster parents who participated!

Why did you become a foster parent?

-“Because at a very important time in my life, I found out that I was not able to have kids. I thought that helping kids would be a great idea.”

-“I chose to become a foster parent because I wanted to make a small difference to a huge problem and provide children with a healthy, happy, and wholesome experience.”

-“ I became a foster parent because I know there are so many kids that need a stable, safe home to be in while they are waiting to be reunited with their birth families. I am 100 percent invested in getting children back with their families if at all possible, but want to provide them the best care in the meantime while they stay with me.”

Why did you choose Foundations Health & Wholeness?

-“I was on my way to work one day and saw a sign out in someone’s yard. I thought it was a divine intervention.”

-“I randomly chose Foundations because I saw an advertisement posted in the community.”

-“I chose Foundations based upon several references of friends that I had go through the organization and heard such great things. I was further convinced when looking into the program because I felt I would receive more personal attention from the case managers.”

Is being licensed a difficult process?

-“Not at all.”

-“In my opinion the licensing process is more so a tedious rather than difficult process.”

-“It is not a difficult process, but it does involve being organized and committed to completed tasks. Foundations has been more than patient with me and is more than willing to let me go at my own pace.”

-“Becoming licensed isn’t so much difficult. It just requires patience, sacrifice, and consistency with a lot of dedicated time.”

Have you ever fostered before this? Or was this your first time?

-“This is my first time fostering.” This foster parent has been licensed with Foundations Health & Wholeness for 3 years.

-“I have never fostered before, this is my first experience.” This is a foster parent that has been licensed with Foundations Health & Wholeness for 4 years.

-“I have never fostered before.” This is a foster parent who was licensed this year with Foundations Health & Wholeness.

Tell me about the support Foundations Health & Wholeness provides to you.

-“One of the things I like about Foundations is the support. I can call my case worker at any time with any questions or concerns. She works through things with me, provides a different point of view but overall I make the final decision. That is important to me. I don’t believe I have had to face anything without Foundation staff/ family being present.”

-“Foundations provides me with a better overall understanding of the fostering system, different coping tools and skills, access to a team of professionals, necessary respites, etc.”

-“Foundations staff members are available via text message or phone call pretty much any time. They are supportive of your decisions and are there when you need to talk through your decision making process. Foundations understood that I wasn’t ready to do respite care in the beginning of my journey and respected that decision and I really appreciated that.”

-“Foundations always has a worker to talk to for advice through email, text, or phone call.”

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

-“I think for me, it’s seeing the results of my actions in their decision making, and who they are becoming. Whether it be positive or negative, I see myself in the kids I have in my home. Even when I do respite, whether the weekend, a week or a month. It’s nice to see how kids follow my structure of my home even if I am overly protective and always involved in everything they do.”

-“The most rewarding part of being a foster parent to me is providing hope to what initially appeared to be a hopeless situation by changing a frown into a smile.”

-“I think the most rewarding thing is to provide a loving, safe, nurturing environment to kids who need it the most. I hope that it also works out that I have valuable relationships with birth parents.”

-“The most rewarding part of being a foster parents is knowing we are making a difference in a child’s life who deserves to be loved and nurtured.”

What is the toughest part of being a foster parent?

-“For me, this was being “present” and supportive of the time period when children show their true colors and they address their own insecurities and trauma. There is no amount of training that can prepare you for the emotional, mental or physical discomfort you experience as a foster parent. You learn to love these kids through their pain even when it causes pain for yourself. You learn to love selflessly and you are forced to deal with your own triggers and trauma.”

-“The toughest part of being a foster parent to me is to correctly and effectively function within the framework of the system while being bound by the politics, red tape and bureaucracy.”

-“The toughest part for me is just being a parent for the first time ever. I sometimes don’t know what I am doing – but then people that have been parents to kids since they were born remind me that they feel the same way.”

Tell us a “yay” moment you and your foster child had recently or in your most recent placement.

-“I would have to say this occurred this week at parent teacher conferences. Both of my girls are doing GREAT in school. I was so proud of them. When I heard about their behavior and how they carry themselves in school, I honestly couldn’t believe they were talking about my foster youth. Just to hear how focused they have been and how kind hearted they are, and how they are a pleasure to have in class and be around. I see my lectures of treating people with respect, how important education is, and always being the best version of yourself has actually helped or plays a part in their decision making of how they represent themselves! I LOVE IT. I’m so proud of my kids.”

-“I’m proud to announce that I’ve had several “yay” moments with the children that I’ve fostered; but one most recently that comes to mind is the vast progress that one of the youth in my home has made in her development.”

-“Our foster child received “Honor Roll” for her first semester during her first year of high school.”

What would you like potential foster parents to know?

-“I’d like potential foster parents to know that a little loving effort makes a huge difference.”

-“I would want them to reach out to as many people as possible that have gone through the process to just hear stories and find out what it is like. I would also want them to know that it is going to be hard and emotional but that there is a tremendous level of support at Foundations.”

-“We want foster parents to know that it’s always sunshine after the rain.”

Do you think it’s important for more African Americans in the Milwaukee area (or in general) to become foster parents and why?

-“I believe it’s important in general because it’s important for those cultural norms to be passed on. It’s important for black kids to be placed with other people that look like them. I believe the expectations of how they speak, wear their clothes, walk, and express themselves can be hindered if they’re not. I just think that children deserve to be placed with families that look like them. It actually may help them adjust and flourish.”

-“I most definitely think that it’s not only important, but rather “critical” that more African Americans in the Greater Milwaukee area and throughout the country become involved as foster parents as there’s an overwhelming need and a need for children to identify culturally.”

-“I think it is important for kids in foster care to have people taking care of them that look like them. In Milwaukee, there are many African American children in foster care so it would be wonderful for there to be more African American foster parents so that they have positive cultural role models that are of the same ethnicity as them. However, I also firmly believe that people of other races can take amazing care of African American children.”

-“We think it’s very important for more African Americans to become foster parents because Southeastern Wisconsin has the majority of children in foster care which are African Americans.”

What do you want potential foster parents to know?

“I want all potential foster parents to be aware that fostering children can be quite rewarding. Unfortunately, this is not something which is instantaneous. I believe that being a foster parent is truly a blessing because you are given the opportunity to share your blessings with others. However, at times children can be so badly traumatized that they can cause harm to themselves and/or others.”

Do you think it’s important for more African Americans in the Milwaukee area (or in general) to become foster parents? Why?

“Yes, I believe that it is important for more African Americans in the Milwaukee area to become foster parents. However, in addition to African Americans, I believe every race capable of caring, loving, nurturing, sharing, etc. should also be of interest when it comes to caring for the little people of the world. Why? I believe this because of the need to care for the traumatized children of the world.”

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