Good Morning, YARNutopia! Shannon (Nadia’s mom), here.
Many of you may not be aware that Fuad and I are licensed foster parents. We have been working with kids and fostering for three years. We can truly say that it has been a challenging, yet rewarding, journey. It has always been in our hearts to open our home to children in the foster care system. We underwent the necessary process to get licensed in 2020, and we are currently a Level 4, Trauma-Informed Foster home. Our focus has been on, but not limited to, teenagers and/or sibling groups.
Foster parenting is a role that involves opening one’s heart and home to children in need. This commitment involves the entire family. As you have learned through the years, we have adult children that are married, and we have grandchildren. This isn’t something we have taken lightly. We know that it impacts everyone in our circle – both our immediate and extended family. It is a journey that requires immense dedication, love, patience, and compassion. Being a foster parent not only transforms the lives of vulnerable children, but also has had an impact on us and our entire family. Here, we will explore the unique and experiences of being a foster parent, the challenges it entails, and the substantial positive difference it makes in the lives of children.
One important facets of being a foster parent is consistency in the home. One of the best ways we are able to provide that, for me, is my ability to work from home and always be available for the children in our care. With being behind the scenes at YARNutopia, Wood Be Fancy, and our other small business, this allows me the flexibility to do that. It also has provided a point of interest for most kids. Nadia has taught many of our teens how to crochet. They have LOVED being able to create. It is a small building block to growing their confidence and self esteem. We are so grateful for this platform and its ability to provide us this opportunity, that we never take that for granted.
Foundation for Fostering
Providing Stability and Love:One of the most significant contributions we, as foster parents, can offer is a stable and nurturing environment for children who have experienced trauma or neglect. We try to create a safe haven where children can heal, grow, and feel loved. We provide stability, support, and a sense of belonging. Being part of our family becomes the foundation upon which these children can rebuild their lives. This is a huge responsibility and one we do not take lightly. In the past three years, we have had several children in our home who have gone on to adoption or reunification. We also have provided respite for other foster parents. The foundation we provided has helped them to cope by having tools to use in their lives well beyond their time with us.
Fostering Growth and Development:We play a vital role in facilitating the growth and development of children in our care. We provide educational assistance, encourage extracurricular activities, and nurture talents and interests. Many of the children are often so entrenched in trying to navigate through chaos that they do not have an opportunity to experience what life is like to BE A CHILD. Here, in our home, they can learn how to actually be a kid. A kid who can build friendships, go to birthday parties, join a sport or activity, do homework. A kid who can begin to find out who they are outside of the life they were living prior to being placed in our care. We do this by providing a structured routine and opportunities for growth in an environment that is calm and loving.
Fuad and I work to empower children to reach their full potential and have an opportunity to succeed in life. We have witnessed children who were not able to read, LEARN to read. We witness what the simple act of reading can do to open up their world. We have taught teens to drive, how to get their first job, learn banking, try their hand at cooking, and MANY other life skills. These are some of the most basic things we take for granted, but they can be so difficult to maneuver or navigate for a child placed foster care.
Emotional Support and Encouragement:The emotional well-being of foster children is vital for their development. We fill many roles in this area. We offer a listening ear, empathetic understanding, and unwavering support during very challenging times. We work to help children process their emotions, build resilience, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. None of which are easy for a child who has been through so much trauma. Something such as personal hygiene can be a challenge for kids, or even for them to talk about, when they have never had anyone there to teach them. Through continuous encouragement and belief in these children, we can instill confidence and inspire them to overcome adversity.
It takes time. Some days you feel defeated. I cannot even count how many times Fuad and I were ready to throw in the towel because this was so difficult. Yet, we wake up every day and keep going. Yes, there are hard days, but there is a bigger purpose. When you witness pieces of the transformation a child begins to experience in a loving environment, it is a remarkable feeling. There are literally NO words to describe it.
Long Lasting Relationships:Foster parenting is not just about providing temporary care; it is about building meaningful and lasting relationships. Fuad and I have become mentors and role models. We work to create lifelong connections for the children we care for. Even after they leave foster care, the bond between us and the children who have been in our care has been established. We continue the relationship beyond our home, providing a source of guidance and support as they navigate into adulthood. We have always maintained that we are just a phone call or text message away. There is something very special about receiving that text message long after a child has left your care. This past May, one of our teens we fostered reached out to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. Pretty cool, right?
Advocating for Children’s Rights:Foster parents are also powerful advocates for the rights of children in our care. We have worked alongside case managers, educators, and healthcare providers to ensure the well-being and best interests of the children are met. We advocate for access to quality education, healthcare services, and necessary resources, empowering children to thrive in every aspect of their lives.
Overcoming Challenges:Foster parenting is not without its challenges. We have to navigate complex legal systems, cope with the trauma experienced by the children, and adapt to diverse backgrounds and needs. We have experienced how to deal with behavioral issues, mental health challenges, and much more as a result of what children in our care have experienced prior to being placed in our care. However, with resilience, patience, and unconditional love, we begin to triumph over these obstacles, creating a supportive and nurturing environment for the children we care for.
Being a foster parent is a remarkable journey filled with love, compassion, and personal growth. It offers an opportunity to make a lasting impression in the lives of vulnerable children, providing them with stability, love, and a chance to flourish. Foster parents create a nurturing environment, foster growth and development, and advocate for children’s rights. That dedication and selflessness can have a profound impact, shaping the lives of children and leaving an indelible mark on their hearts.
Foster care is not for the faint of heart, trust me, this is not an easy path to walk. It can often be filled with frustration, heartbreak, and a myriad of feelings that make you question your sanity at times. Yet,there will be days when all of it will just fall away for that perfect moment when you are having a spontaneous living-room dance party with smiling, laughing children who are caught in the joy of a Bruno Mars song. For those brief moments their trauma doesn’t rule their every second of their day. Instead, they are floating free and thriving in your care. Those are the moments we hold on to.
To all the foster parents out there, WE SEE YOU! WE understand you! And, WE believe in you!
~Shannon and Fuad