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Life in the Fostering Community
“You have to have a heart for foster care,” says Priscilla, who is also know as —‘Mama ‘Cilla’ to the teenagers she fosters. Priscilla’s own parents had fostered children in South Africa and, when they joined her in Canada, they all reminisced about those times. It was then she made a decision to walk in her parents’ shoes. The teenagers Priscilla fosters have the benefit of an extended family that includes “grandparents” as well as Priscilla and her own son–and they love it!
We don’t want to give the impression that fostering is easy. It’s not. That’s why there is training and support and the Foster Parents Association,” says Priscilla. She goes on further to say “Halton has a very different approach to working with foster parents . . . they take partnering and team work very seriously.”
“Not easy, but rewarding.” Lee and Patrick provide relief to regular foter parents. Regular foster parents utilize relief for a few reasons, which may include illness or unforseen emergencies.
Lee recalls caring for a small boy whose regular foster parents were facing one such unforseeable emergency, and whose biological parents did not have access. He stayed with Lee and Pat for two weeks and his birthday occurred during that time. The day before his birthday, Lee asked him what kind of cake he would like and what he might like for a present. He simply shrugged. On a trip to the store, the young boy began acting out. Lee quietly sat him down and told him she understood he was sad his parents could not be with him on his birthday, but that in her family, birthdays meant celebrations. She said, “We will all gather tomorrow and we will have cake and, if you choose it, it will be the kind of cake you like. If you tell me what you want, your gift will be a gift you want. But, whatever you do, people are coming and we will celebrate.” He chose both a cake and a gift. The next morning he was ready early, decorating and helping out hours before the guests arrived. He threw himself wholeheartedly into the occasion.
“Finally he could hope for something and get it,” says Lee. “Magical! “Relief care is magical. I’m not their mom. But I will do everything I can to help them have an amazing life.”
Both Priscilla and Lee are working mothers with careers. At the Halton Children’s Aid Society (Halton CAS) we welcome and support all kinds of families–our families are Halton’s families.
Ayesha and Chris made up their minds that fostering was right for them when their daughter reached the age of ten and wished to have siblings. They considered foster care in the past, but waited until they felt she was old enough.
“The Society asked us if we wanted a particular age group,” Ayesha explained. “Since we are both nurses, we thought we should consider medically frail children.” They couple also has a background in children’s mental health. When they received a placement request for a little boy with challenges, “we knew this little fellow was going to have problems, but from our hearts we knew we could help.”
Chris adds, “It was stressful . . .but it’s getting better. It takes time.” “These kids just need a helping hand to make them very good people in society. They have a lot of potential.”
Meet Some of our Retired Foster Parents
CLICK here to read Carolyn and Bill’s story.
CLICK here to read June and Don’s story.
We cannot underestimate the impact on children of families who choose to foster. This is a concern for many applicants with children. This is Monica’s story and her experience in the fostering community (actual names have been changed).