My family has been engaging in foster care for over six years. With each child who has entered our home, we have had new things to learn. We’ve needed to learn about that child’s experience and background so we can parent them from their needs — not simply our expectation. We have learned how to fight for the best outcomes for our foster children and how to support their family.
Each child who enters our home enters as a part of our family — no matter how long they are with us. They are a part of our story, and we are a part of theirs.
Hopes and dreams
As a momma, I have hopes and dreams for my children and the kids who we welcome in through foster care are no different. Sometimes the dreams I’ve been nurturing for our foster kids do not play out the way I hoped. I have had to learn that there are so many variables and so many people who love these kids, and sometimes I only see a piece of the bigger picture.
I can tell you today, that in those times when I have questioned the outcome of our foster child’s case, I have come to understand that was the best plan for them. It may have been difficult for me to let go of what I had been dreaming for that child, but I have been able to see the good in the outcomes I didn’t expect. I have seen families put back together and I have seen siblings who were able to grow up together — just as they should. I have learned that to truly love is more painful and more beautiful than I ever realized.
When our most recent foster son came to us, he did so as a part of our family. I immediately began hoping and dreaming things for him that I felt best due to my experience as a foster parent and the knowledge of what was at stake for him. Everything I did over the next several weeks was with these dreams in mind…
It was not until several months into getting to know our new foster son that I realized my dreams for him did not match up with the dreams he had for himself. I found myself in a battle over which dreams were best. I may think I know better and maybe sometimes I do, but what I have come to realize is that my worth as a foster parent is not dependent on the outcome of each child.
Where I find my worth
My worth as a foster parent is dependent on me saying, “Yes” to the difficult, the heartbreaking and the messy — and seeing the beauty in the midst of it all. My worth as a foster parent is in believing the best of the kids who enter our home and the families connected to them. My worth as a foster parent is in not giving up when behaviors are hard to manage and a case is not looking the way I expected. My worth as a foster parent is in impacting my community by sharing what we have with a child and a family that doesn’t have the same resources and support as we do. And my worth as a foster parent is in continuing to dream for the future of the children who enter our home regardless of the outcome.
– Charonne Ganiere, licensed foster parent
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services recruits, trains and provides support services for foster families. The need for foster parents in Wisconsin is great. Contact us to receive information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or visit our website to learn more.