“Is This What It Feels Like to Have Aunts and Uncles?”

Imagine taking three siblings into your home and having to endure four years of not knowing whether you would ultimately be able to adopt them. Stressful doesn’t even begin to describe the experiences of the Carter family during their foster journey.

Over the years, the court determined that parental rights would be terminated for the biological parents of the three siblings. Because of a difficult situation with the children’s birth parents, the court also determined that, in their best interest, they would not hold a goodbye visit between the parents and children. So, after four years of developments, the Carter family had to now help their foster children adjust to what it meant to no longer face reunification with their biological parents.

As foster parents, the Carters knew that they had a responsibility to advocate for the children to receive continued therapies and related support following termination of parental rights. Too, the process of adopting the three siblings could only now get underway. While the Carters were looking at another long road ahead, their Fostering Hope volunteers assured them that they would walk that road right along with them.

During Fostering Hope team meetings, all the volunteers bring their calendars and start snatching tasks that the foster mom has identified she needs help with. This includes transportation to appointments and practices, help with certain school projects or any number of other requests she may have in any given month. The team is eager to divide and conquer. One volunteer loves making macaroni and cheese on Thursday nights at the Carter house when two of the three kids have soccer practice on opposite sides of town and are ravenously hungry when everyone returns home. Another volunteer picks up laundry on Friday nights and brings it back, cleaned and folded, before church on Sunday morning. A new volunteer who is in college loves sitting down with the oldest girl to do homework several times a week. When it was her birthday, all the volunteers threw a birthday party to celebrate. She was so thrilled to feel this love and excitement from her Fostering Hope family. Later that night, she asked her foster mom, “Is this what it’s like to have aunts and uncles?”

Becoming extended family is exactly what Fostering Hope envisions when we match volunteer teams with foster families. Seeing it in action is pure magic.

Names have been changed to protect identities.

 

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