The Empowerment of Foster Families

Pictures provided by Jessi Hodges, Greater Hope Foundation.

Pictures provided by Jessi Hodges, Greater Hope Foundation.

By Janice Eck

(Victor Valley)– Being a foster parent is a great responsibility and is not meant for everyone, but there are people out there who have a natural rearing and nurturing instinct that strive with the challenge. Some people have wanted to foster children ever since they could remember; it was something they always wanted to do. There are others who were unable to have children of their own and instead found a calling in fostering then adopting. Whatever your reason, be prepared for a time of trial, test, and challenge, which will result in an unmatched and priceless experience for both you and your foster child.

Barstow resident, Rebecca McNutt, adopted two young children she had in foster care through Greater Hope Foundation and is fostering another baby girl at this time. As a foster parent, she understands the negative stereotype that foster families are labeled with, such as lack of care and love, that foster children do not get the nurturing they need because there is no attachment. On the contrary, McNutt discusses with High Desert Daily the opposite, “These kids will get attached and will try you and part of the trying is because they’re attaching to you. You have to roll with it. You can’t just sit there and hold some ideal that you have and say, ‘It’s just how life is going to be.’ It’s like with your own biological children. We all have an idea of what our kids are going to be when we have them. These [foster] children grow up as their own person.”

As foster parents watch their children grow up in a stable home and away from the unfortunate circumstances that led them to that home, foster families may grow a special unbreakable bond. Many times, grown foster children remain a part of their parents’ lives.  For Shanna Whitingslow, a resident of Victorville who has adopted her foster children and still fosters through Greater Hope, foster parenting has led to long-lasting relationships with her older foster children. She and her husband are still very involved in their lives, as she describes to High Desert Daily the continuing relationship she has with them, “My husband and I keep in contact with several of the older children who have aged out of the system. We’re still ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ to them. They come over. If they’ve got no where to go for the holidays, they know they’re more than welcome here. ”

Giving a stable home and unconditional love to a foster child should be the number one priority for any family as well as child services agencies. With Greater Hope Foundation, families are able to utilize the network of support through training, classes and events held especially for their families. The families who spoke with High Desert Daily praised Greater Hope for their functionality and support throughout the whole process and the duration of foster care as Lisa Baptist, Apple Valley resident, explains, “We were very lucky and blessed that Greater Hope is extremely supportive and that they have a great, caring staff.” Baptist adds, “This has been the best experience of our lives. It has added so much to our family and I would definitely like to thank Greater Hope for helping us get such a beautiful, wonderful daughter. “

Foster parenting is not an easy decision to make. All the right resources are needed to ensure you are making the right decision for your whole family and the foster child. If you have questions about fostering or would like to R.S.V.P. for the next orientation with Greater Hope Foundation, please visit http://www.greaterhopefoundation.com/ .

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