What it means to be a Foster Parent | A Real Life Experience

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When we are out recruiting foster parents, or speaking about what CHOICES does to help children people often say, “I can’t imagine doing that…You must hear a lot of sad stories…and so on.”  Yes, it is hard, yes we all hear sad stories whether we are caseworkers, staff or foster parents.  It is often a struggle, but the struggle is sprinkled with good moments at first. With time those good moments become more frequent and we have positive outcomes with our kids.

These positive outcomes…that is why we all continue.  Today one of our foster parent’s shared this story to celebrate her daughter’s birthday. It encompasses the journey many of our foster parents experience whether they adopt or not.

Happy Birthday Helen

On March 4th of 2008…I met a very troubled, confused and frightened young lady named Cindy. She was very strong willed with a lot of determination. Through thick and thin I always loved her. Nothing she could do would change that… no matter how hard she pushed. We went through rocky storms and climbed many mountains. She even had to move away for a time period in order for us to re coop and strengthen lost ties. She fought me tooth and nail. She wanted her family. Her REAL family. What child wouldn’t?

On April 15, 2010 Cindy became Helen. A name after my Granny. We adopted her and her two sisters. Times grew even tougher. Still… my Momma prayed. She prayed morning and night for Helen. Never ceasing to give up on her.

In August, 2013 Helen came home to live with us again. We had to make changes. She had to change. I had to change. Through all of her pain I never realized the suffering she experienced being without her real Mom. UNTIL… that dreadful day when I lost MY Momma. Sadly enough, I understood her loss. I finally recognized her suffering.

Today, Helen has visited her REAL mother and talks to her once a month. I have learned so many things on our journey but so has Helen. She learned that her real mother has issues and that their separation was not MY fault. She learned that seeing her Mom again wasn’t all that she had hoped for. She learned that I do LOVE her oh so much. She has learned that she is my daughter and despite how much she loves her real Mom and despite how much she is in love with those memories… I AM her REAL Mommy and WE are HER REAL FAMILY.

I say all of this because today is her Birthday. Her 13th Birthday. I couldn’t be more proud to call this beautiful young lady My daughter. My for real forever Daughter. Mommy loves you Helen.  Happy Birthday Tellin Helen. XoXo

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We are so grateful for the consistency our foster parents provide to youth in the program, we are thankful for their willingness to walk alongside them each day. As you can see, it isn’t easy, the change doesn’t happen over night but over time you can make a difference too.  If you would like more information about becoming a foster parent please click here.

But most of all we wish Helen a Happy 13th Birthday!

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