…. the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." Never underestimate the power and influence of the adult over the younger and more impressionable mind of a child.
Making a decision to foster a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body. For the foster child, it is the ray of hope in a dark and confusing world.
I have interviewed two couples, one living in Gwinnett County and one living in Walton County who have fostered and adopted children. I will profile the couple in Gwinnett first then the couple in Walton County. Between the two you will be able to see the similarities in the nature of these couples as it relates to being foster parents.
Gladys and Walter are a working couple, yet find the time necessary to foster these children. It is a 24/7 job. They are a typical middle class family. They have the same problems in life as we all do. But I would say the stress level is higher just because of all the work that goes into being a foster parent. One does not realize the special circumstances in caring for traumatized children.
When you visit the home of Gladys and Walter one will see pictures hanging on the walls of most all the children that have passed through their doors over the years. They will point to this picture and that picture and tell you the story of the lives of that child in the photo. Most stories have a good ending, being reunited back with their biological parents, some do not. Some of the kids in the photos are of African descent or Asian descent, it didn’t make any difference where they came from, they were just kids needing to be loved and for a while, they were their children. These children came on an adoption/reunion basis, meaning that the main focus was to reunite them with their biological parents. These children come with a lot of "baggage" attached, all foster children do. It’s how the foster parents discern these problems and through their own love and compassion try to coax these children back to a realization of what life is all about. Some of these children have been so abused or neglected and their lives forever altered that it takes a couple with a special kind of compassion to open their own lives and hearts (and finances, the county doesn’t cover all the costs) for the betterment of these kids knowing that the child may not respond and another life could be ruined beyond repair. They have adopted three children themselves and the kids are becoming more like typical young children. This is just a snapshot a quick glimpse of their life for I cannot begin to write everything that comes with being a foster parent. Then I ask the question, "Why?" Their response was, "because their was a need in both our hearts, one to give love the other was there was that there was a greater need for our love."
In the next segment, Stephen and Shelene.