Seven years, six placements, three adoptions, four kiddos we’ve provided respite care for … these are the numbers that reflect our time as foster parents. Yet our time in foster care is so much more than just numbers.
Our time as foster parents has opened our eyes to those around us who hurt differently than we do. Our time as foster parents grew our family in ways we never imagined it would by connecting us to a beautiful community of other foster families. It’s grown our hearts and our family story with the kiddos we parented for just a little while. And it has grown our family to include those who became a part of it forever and the biological family members connected to them.
We’ve been a foster family longer than my husband and I have been married. Our oldest boys have grown up being foster siblings and know little else. Foster care has taught our boys to be the kind, compassionate and giving people that they are. I would not trade the beauty or the difficulty of foster care for anything.
Fostering and loving those involved in the system has become our life’s passion. We’ve spent seven years saying yes to foster care and find ourselves now questioning if it is time to change our response. Are we serving the kids in our family well by welcoming more in or would that spread us too thin? Does continuing in foster care make things less or more confusing for the children we have adopted? Have we done enough, made enough of an impact on kids and families? There continues to be a need for good foster homes, can we just ignore that? How do we begin saying no when we have for so long said yes?
These are the questions we are asking as we wonder if our time as foster parents has come to an end. While we have not yet come to a definitive answer, we know that if we end our time as foster parents, we will still be actively engaged in foster care.
We will still be involved
We will still make donations to kids in care, we will still bring meals to foster families when they receive new placements and we will still be involved in recruiting and supporting new foster parents. No matter what our role in foster care looks like, we will always choose to do something – because when it comes to engaging in foster care there is something everyone can do.
Perhaps you, like me, are considering what your future as a foster parent will look like. Maybe you are unable to be a foster parent at this time but still want to get involved. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services can connect you to ways to support and engage in foster care in Milwaukee. I encourage you to reach out and discover what your something might be.
– 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.