Written by Diana “Dee” Parkinson
May was National Foster Care Month, my wife Charity and I have been reflecting on our journeys as foster mothers. We foster children through Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA), which is an organization that helps Arizona’s youth and provides excellent support for parents of all kinds.
Many may think that the “end goal” of fostering is to find families to adopt these children. However, our goal is to reunify families when possible. Charity and I consider our home to be a safe space for our foster kids to take a breather. We give parents time to get back on their feet and create a space that has the same level of safety we provide their kids. Reunification is important for both children and the family to feel whole. Children need that closeness of family and familiarity.
Charity and I had a sibling group for almost a year, and this was their first time in foster care. We were able to have some fun experiences with the kiddos while their parents worked on themselves. Their parents were actively in counseling groups and regularly attended parenting meetings, all while visiting with the kids.
It was important for the parents to keep in touch with their children throughout the pandemic, so we held regular Zoom calls. We made sure that the kids did not miss one visit! It was a sad day for our hearts when they left our care, but we knew the kids were excited to be home.
AzCA was great with the administrative functions of getting these kiddos into our home, in addition to being our sounding board with the craziness of having new kids. AzCA provides excellent resources and gave us the information we needed for services. The training that we received helped prepare us for welcoming kids into our home.
If you have the love, ability and compassion to help even one kiddo, we encourage anybody to foster. There are so many kids in the foster care system and just not enough homes. Know that this will not always be rainbows and unicorns, but it is fulfilling. When it is time for the kiddo(s) to return home, you will have helped not only the children but the parents as well. This will be something that will stick with the kids for a lifetime.
We hope to help bring Arizona families back together!