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“You gave me so much needed hope. You truly helped my sense of self worth and made me want to help myself. You have made such a positive impact in my life. [You] have faith in me and that has meant everything to me and has made all the difference. When I count my blessings I always think of you.”
Sarah, foster child

“We had one foster child who eventually returned to her natural mother, and the two of them showed up on our door one day. The mother had been through parenting classes and turned her life around. She said, ‘Thank you for showing my child the things I didn’t know how to do.’” 
Malcolm and Bonnie, foster and adoptive parents 
"I have been a single foster parent for 12 years.  I started because I wanted to so something more with my life than just work.  I thought I would just take care of children as long as I was needed and then they would go home or on to an adoptive placement.  My third placement was a baby with special needs and when the worker talked to me about the possibility of adoption, I was not sure that I could commit make that commitment.  After several months when I thought of my daughter going anywhere else, I knew I had to make that commitment.
People say they don't know how I do it because they would become too attached.  I do become attached.  I wouldn't be a food foster parent if I didn't.  I cry when children leave even if they are going to a good home.  Foster parenting isn't always easy.  Being a part of a child's life and watching them change whether it be a baby who develops new skills or a child who finally gives you a hug is worth every moment."
Carol, foster parent 

"If someone would have told us we'd have two teenage boys in our home on Thanksgiving a year ago, I would have told them they were nuts.  My husband and I started our home study only wanting to adopt little children.  By the time pre-service classes were over, we had decided to give fostering a shot but only little kids.  We had that "fear" of teenage boys in foster care.  After all "everyone" knows teenage boys are a handful, right?  After waiting a while, we were asked if we wanted to do respite for a 14-year-old boy for ten days.  By the end of the ten days, we were sad to see him go.  We had gotten to know him and our minds were opened.  A few weeks later the agency asked us to respite another teen boy.  We said yes, of course, why not, we'll give it another try, the first time went well.  That second boy is with us long term now, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  We got our second teen boy a few days before Thanksgiving, and although we know we'll have some bumps in the road, it will be worth it.  We tried little kids, and they are nice, but we love our teenage boys.  Sure they have issues, so do the little kids, but we get along so well with our older boys.  Teen boys in foster care have a negative stigma attached to them, but really, they aren't all that bad."
Mary, foster parent 

"I may not have acted like it, but I really do appreciate all that you and all of children services did for me.  Without people like you, people like me would not be at Parris Island.  People always ask me about how it is being a foster kid.  I tell them it's the best thing that ever happened to me."
Ray, foster child 

"This is our story on being foster parents.  We decided that we would like to adopt a couple of younger children, but we were NEVER going to do traditional foster care and especially not TEENAGERS.  (That didn't last.)
One Saturday evening, the agency worker contacted us and asked if we would do respite for a 15-year-old-man until Monday morning.  We reluctantly agreed.  The agency worker dropped the teenager off at our house.  He was very well behaved and polite. 
On Monday morning before going to work, I was taking him to the agency to drop him off because he attended school in another school district and staff at the agency was going to transport him to school.  As we reached the agency, the teenage boy asked me, "Do you know where I am going to live when I get out of school today?"  I was shocked!  Try to imagine being removed from everything that you know, spending the weekends with complete strangers, and being expected to attend school as if nothing traumatic is happening in your life!  I went to work, and when I arrived, I told my husband what the teenager had asked me.  We instantly agreed to contact the agency to express our interest in becoming his foster parents.  They agreed.  We have had this young man in our home for a year and a half at this time and currently are fostering four other children full-time (two of which are teenagers) and one other teenager part-time. 
We cannot begin to explain the enrichment to your life that these kids can bring.  We have had some foster children to leave and be returned to their family, and we feel the loss, but then it seems that another child comes into our home and heart that needs to be comforted, guided and accepted and we begin again.  Hopefully, we are becoming better parents to these children as we learn to meet their needs and grow with them."
Christy, foster parent