“Hold on to me as we go, down this unfamiliar road as we roll. And although this wave is stringing us along, JUST KNOW YOU’RE NOT ALONE!”
Although this calling brings much joy, it also brings many challenges. Challenges for which we need another set of eyes or arms. Challenges from which we need rest and challenges for which we need support. Every team has coaches and trainers who help get the team on the field. Every show has producers, directors and writers who help get the show on the stage. Every foster parent has someone – a spouse, partner, parent, friend or sibling – who helps us succeed.
I would love to tell you I’ve said or done all the right things as a parent or foster parent or that I’ve handled each situation logically and calmly. Yet, we all know that would be a lie. No offense, but I’m an Italian female. Those 2 words together don’t add up to calm.
I can tell you I have a wonderful husband, Gene, who knows when and where the help is needed. This is the person I hold on to as we go. This is the person that doesn’t get the credit he should. I may be out front speaking as an ambassador, writing blogs or attending meetings on a foster parent advisory council, but he is the person at home caring for our fabulous children. He is scheduling and attending the therapy, doctor and visitation appointments and doing the shopping, cooking and cleaning. He gets the sick kid call from school and makes sure the treasures go in the backpack for every theme day at school. As the person who stays home, he has received comments ranging from “it’s not a job” to “what you do is amazing!” Regardless of the opinions, I know I couldn’t do this without his love and support.
Who’s part of your supporting cast?
They say there is no “I” in team. I guess it’s because there are “eyes” in team. Another set of eyes that sees when you need a hug or a high five. A set of eyes that sees you and says, “well done” or “I’ll take this for you.” I know our family and many, many more foster families are blessed to have a set of eyes that belong to Paulette Drankiewicz, a Children’s Hospital Community Services foster parent liaison. Our family first met this amazing woman a year and a half ago when we joined the Foster Parent Advisory Council, which is another wonderful support system for foster parents. Our lives haven’t been the same. We’ve been able to call, text or email her whenever and for whatever. She always has an answer, a connection to someone or support – most days all of the above. Yet more importantly, she “gets” us, understands us, has been and is still there, and loves us through each and every storm or celebration. She is a diamond in a rough system and a priceless treasure.
In this play called “fostering,” there aren’t any solo parts. There are parts for brave, loving, kind and understanding men, women and children. This script calls us to lean on each other, lift each other up and always be supportive of one another. This script involves community partners Kids Matter, Inc., which generously supports foster parents year-round. This script involves businesses like Barnes & Noble, which partners with Children’s Hospital Community Services to provide new books to help kids develop a lifelong love of reading.
Our little play has not made Broadway and has not been made into a big screen movie (yet ). But, our play is loaded with everyday heroes and debuts day after day in towns across America.
So thank you, cast and crew, for being part of the most amazing play I’ve ever been blessed to be in.