This week, as I have set the focus on foster care and adoption, I have shared some of the things that are on my heart, I have shared thoughts, and I have shared some information about fostering and adoption. Now, I want to share something else with you. Glimpses. I want to share with you some thoughts from families whose life’s story involve foster care and/or adoption. They have said “yes”, they have extended their hands and their home, and they are not just speaking words of life – but they are living out words of life.
I provided them with a list of common questions, and based on their actual experience(s), they provided some insightful answers. Please note, the words are their own and nothing is being shared without their permission/consent. If you are wanting to move forward and answer the call to care for the orphans, I pray that their words will help guide you in where your first or next step should be.
Family #1 – Scott and Gena Schuck.
I met Gena awhile back when I was a teacher in the classroom. She taught 4th grade and then later moved down a few grades to teach 1st grade with me. Working on a team with her, it became quickly evident to me that she had a huge heart for children, especially those whose lives were messy and seemingly without hope. It was no surprise to me when I recently learned, years later, that her and her husband decided to further pursue the call of stepping up and stepping in to be the beacon of hope so desperately needed. As you will read, it wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it. Thank you, Gena for sharing with us a tiny glimpse of your journey.
Q1: What inspired or led you to get involved in foster care and/or adoption?
Our first foster experience was with a student that was in my 4th grade class. The next set of children were students at the school I was an administrator at. My husband and I couldn’t bear to see them in the DHS shelter.
Q2: What, if any, were some of the things that made you hesitant in choosing to foster/adopt?
Dealing with our DHS system can be frustrating and parents are given way to many chances to get their kids back when they shouldn’t.
Q3: How long have you been a foster/adoptive parent?
About 3 1/2 years now.
Q4: If someone came to you wanting advice on whether to move forward with the process of becoming a foster home, what would you tell them?
Yea, but use an outside agency such as Anna’s House if possible. They provide great emotional support that regular DHS can’t because of their work load.
Q5: As a foster/adoptive parent, what are some ways you feel people around you can better support you?
Understand that foster parents are tired! Babysitting is the best gift ever! Also remember that the children aren’t regular kids. They are in state custody for a reason so they have and are living in great trauma. They won’t be perfect kids.
Q6: What is one of the biggest misconceptions you feel is associated with a child in foster care?
That enough love can fix them. Yes, it takes lots of love but also lots of consistency and counseling for both kids and foster parents.
Q7: What one piece of advice/encouragement would you give to a new foster/adoptive parent?
Let people help you and use counselors to help you too. If you don’t put your life jacket on then you can’t save anyone else!
Q8: What are your thoughts about becoming a foster/adoptive parent while having biological children still living at home?
I think it’s a good thing, but takes lots of understanding for the bio children.
Q9: People are afraid they won’t bond with a child that “isn’t theirs”, they fear a child won’t bond with them and/or they fear loving a child and then having that child ripped away from them. What would your response be to these fears? Do the rewards outweigh the risks?
You will bond and in time the children can too. And yes, it’s hard when they go home. There’s no way to make that feel good. It helps when you build a relationship with the bio parents and stay in touch. Also, remember that someone will have the kids live with them, it’s better to be that caring, loving, safe person than the alternative they could face! Even for a short time.
Q10: Do you regret entering the world of foster care/adoption? Why or why not?
No. It’s been challenging but very worth it! We just finalized the adoption of three of the kids two weeks ago.