We can learn a lot about kindness, generosity, and love from foster parents. They open not only their hearts, but their homes. It doesn’t get more basic than that — but it’s this simple yet profound gesture that sets them apart.
April has been a foster parent for almost two decades and has impacted the lives of more than 20 kids during that time. We sat down with April to get to know more about her and her journey being a foster parent.
After graduating from college, I worked at Verizon for about 16 years and ended up leaving my job to take care of some family responsibilities that needed my attention. Right around that time is when I started fostering. I love gardening.
I think it’s a metaphor for life and I use gardening as a way to teach the kids in my home. They learn about hard work, patience and taking care of something other than themselves. They learn that life can be hard, but the payoff is great.
I learned that a family member of mine was actually going to be in foster care. This was a relative I didn’t even know I had. I ended up taking him into my home and it was just an awesome experience. After he left, I decided I wanted to do it again.
Don’t be afraid. I was scared at first. I was scared I was going to mess up. I was scared about the unknown. Its cliché, but kids don’t come with a manual so you are going to make mistakes. That’s ok. Be forgiving. Also, it takes a village. You need to have your support team ready. Just remember, being a foster parent is amazing, even if it can be hard at times.
Wow, so many things come to mind. Seeing a child come into your home, they may be timid, not able to read, behind in their development. But the progress they make is unbelievable. It’s so satisfying to see them come out of their shell, succeed and thrive. Just knowing that I played a part in their journey as a foster parent is very rewarding.
That it only takes one person to make a difference in the life of a child. It’s hard to believe, but there are some kids who don’t have anyone they can count on. You can be that person. It doesn’t matter what color, nationality, background or experience, I can be a mom, an “auntie” or a friend to someone.
You need a loving home. A structured environment. You need patience and understanding.
The training is awesome. I learned so much about different approaches and ways of working with kids that has really made a difference. The 24/7 on call at HopeWell is huge. Knowing that I can just pick up the phone and talk to somebody is really important. Most of all its about support. At this point, I’ve worked with just about every one of the staff and I can say that each one of them have been fantastic. The HopeWell staff are like family.