Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Foster Care

Oct. 17 to 23 is Foster Family Appreciation week and the province wants to thank the more than 800 foster families who give children in need a loving, safe and stable place to call home during a family crisis.

"There is no greater gift a grown up can give a child than the gift of hope," said Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse. "Our foster parents are committed to providing children with what they deserve, a loving, caring, nurturing home, and most importantly a renewed hope for a brighter future. For all their great work we say thank you."

Recruitment of new foster families and orientation sessions are held year-round, but the third week in October is set aside each year to recognize the commitment and difference a foster family can make to a child in need.

"My foster care experience has helped me to grow, learn, and become more connected to the world around me," said Sarah. "My foster family saw my strengths where others saw my weaknesses. Today I have hope because I know my foster family will always do what's best for me."

The week includes events around the province when certificates of recognition will be awarded to foster families for every five years they have cared for children.

The Department of Community Services is always looking for more foster families. If your family is interested in becoming a foster parent or want more information call the toll free number at 1-800-565-1884.

Nova Scotia Department of Community Services - Media Release - October 18, 2010

My life has been touched by foster families twice. I was placed with a foster family when I left the hospital as a newborn and I stayed with them for 6 weeks before I went home with my adoptive family. When Liam was born, he spent 17 days with a foster family before he came home with us.

I don’t have very much information about the foster family that I stayed with. The mother filled out a questionnaire about my daily habits (bath after breakfast, nap outside in the afternoon, morning pooper), what type of formula I ate and any medical events during my stay with her. Those 6 weeks have always been a part of my story, but never one that I thought a lot about. It was a short enough time that having it as a void in my history has never really concerned me. I knew I was with a family and presumably well cared for. I’ll have to check with my Mom, but I don’t ever recall asking questions or even being curious about who my foster family was.

Liam however, has recently asked about his foster family and would like to meet them. Because we had a pre-birth match, Liam’s mom was able to give her permission for us to visit Liam during his stay in foster care, since we had no legal ties to him at all until the end of the 17 days when she had signed all the papers terminating her parental rights.  His foster family lived an hour outside of the city and invited us into their home everyday.  They let us bonded with Liam, leaving us to hold him and care for him while they went about their day.  They even invited us to spend the whole day with them on the weekend, and once drove into town to their own son's house so that we didn't have to do the long drive after work.  We were brand new to this parenting things who didn't always know what we were doing.  They taught us how to burp and feed a newborn and taught us to keep a Thermos of hot water in the bedroom to make mixing bottles in the middle of the night easier.

We have a wonderful picture of Liam's foster mother holding him and plan on going out to visit them soon.  While they were only a part of our lives for 17 days, they will always hold a special spot in my heart for being such wonderful, amazing people that took Liam, and us, into their lives.

Thank you to all the great Foster Parents!!

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