When we made the decision to begin the process to become licensed foster parents, ourbiological children were quite young. Our oldest son was 6 and our youngest was just 2 years old. We included them in the decision-making and preparations as much as we could, but they had no idea what our family was really in for.
From the moment we got our first placement call, our boys were overjoyed! They welcomed this tiny girl, unknown to them, as a sister. In fact my biological children have gained 3 “siblings” in the short time we have been involved in foster care.
Our biological children have experienced great gain and joy through our involvement in foster care, but they also have experienced loss. We welcomed another foster placement, a second “sister,” who was more challenging for them to connect with. She was a terribly hurt and scarred little girl and our boys spent months trying, giving up and trying again before they could connect with her. I will never forget the night the breakthrough came and this sweet, hurting little girl began chasing our youngest son around the house giggling and smiling ear to ear. That is a picture I always will keep in my mind and my heart.
A few months later, this second “sister” transitioned out of our home. We did everything we could to make this a smooth transition for everyone involved. We threw a goodbye party, we made a special box of remembrances from her time with us and put together a photo album for her. Every member of the family made a picture or a letter to send her off. We even went to Build-a-Bear Workshop® and made her and our three other children each a matching bear. Each of those bears is filled with 4 hearts, filled with love from “siblings” that were together for just a little while, but will be together forever in their hearts.
Since our second foster daughter left, we have welcomed in our first foster son. Our biological sons were ecstatic when they learned a “brother” was joining us this time.
Recently, we had the opportunity to tie ribbons around trees in Milwaukee County to help promote awareness of the need for foster parents. Our boys came along and excitingly joined in spreading the word about foster care. It filled my heart with joy watching their arms stretch around those big trees to tie a ribbon with big smiles, knowing the good they and our family is doing.
– Charonne Ganiere, licensed foster parent