As mother's day approaches this weekend, moms and foster moms across Wisconsin are anticipating a day dedicated to recognizing them. May is also Foster Care Awareness Month so foster moms, in particular, may feel extra special and appreciated this Sunday. Husbands, fathers, children, and grandchildren will give flowers, breakfast in bed, free labor for household chores, or simply some much needed quiet time. No matter how we celebrate our mothers or ourselves as moms it is a wonderful day to celebrate loving, giving, unselfish women who are dedicated to children. Here in Wisconsin, spring is trying desperately to show us beautiful blossoms and the ground is ready for plantings and new life. What better time for foster moms to hear much deserved praise and gratitude for all they do.
Wisconsin foster moms have at least two things in common: love to give and time to share
Being a foster parent is hard. There is no question. If you are or have been a foster parent you know first hand the challenges and rewards that come with choosing to become a foster parent. Women who sign up to care for children not their own typically have two major things in common, love to give and time to share. Although similar to one another in many ways, each woman brings her own strengths and experiences on her foster care journey. What we bring to the table will depend on our own childhood experiences, the stability of our family while growing up, and the adult experiences we have had personally and professionally. All of life's experiences shape how we love and care for others and how we allow others to love and care for us.
Being a foster mom takes from women who sometimes feel there is nothing left to give. Mother's Day and Foster Care Awareness Month are great opportunities for us to make sure all foster moms feel appreciated and believe that their endless giving and efforts do not go unnoticed. We recently asked some of our foster moms to share with us their experiences and why they choose to be a foster parent.
There is no such thing as a perfect foster parent. It took me a few placements before I really believed this. I thought I could be superwoman and fix everyone and everything. I now know that isn't possible and I truly believe that if I give all the love I can and expect nothing in return I will be a great foster mom and help my kiddos trust and believe.
I am a foster parent because I wanted to make a difference in a child's life. My children are grown and my husband and I lost a daughter and we wanted to help a child and being selfish we wanted to share our love for another child. Well we now have had many, many kids older and now younger and I wouldn't change anything as each child has given us love . All of them were here for a reason and we hope that we did help them. It's a very big reward just to hear them say thanks.
There are so many misconceptions out there about the qualities of a good foster mom. Most women believe that they simply don't have what it takes to be a successful foster parent. They doubt their own characteristics and abilities while believing the rumors about what a good foster parent looks like. We heard this recently at a foster parent information meeting Community Care Resources held in Rock County.
- We don't have children of our own, am I going to be able to foster kids and know what I'm doing?
- We are young and have small children, we don't have any experience with school-age kids.
- I'm not sure I can parent teenagers today. They are different than when I was raising my kids.
We spent 10 minutes debunking their doubts that they wouldn't be successful. We all come from a different place. Some of us had terrible childhoods with an alcoholic parent, divorced and battling parents, and parents that, well, just weren't great parents. Others of us grew up with an amazing single mom or two-parent, loving, high functioning home full of happy memories. The point is, it doesn't matter where we come from. We work with the tools and knowledge that we have and if we are surrounded by a team of professionals to support us, we will be extremely successful fostering our kiddos.
I thought since I had been abused and in the system that I would be able to supply some self learned coping mechanisms and let kids know that as bad as things are for the time being they can use it as a spring board and get the things needed to succeed in this life. They do not have to let their past define them. They are ok or at least working on it. They are valued. And they have security. I can't live it for them but I can show them how to get on task and reach for the best they can be.
People may say fostering older kids is hard but I believe it is the most rewarding my foster son told me the other day that this has been the best 3 months of his life. That made everything worth it
Community Care Resources has nearly 75 foster moms in all corners of Wisconsin. From Eau Claire to Kenosha up to Winnebago and back down to Rock, our foster moms are caring for toddlers, sibling groups and teenagers. Some have one kiddo, others have three and one of our moms has a sibling set of five foster kids. They all rock! They are all amazing in their own unique, individual way! We can never properly express our gratitude that they choose to work with CCR and we can never list all the wonderful things they do for the kids in their care. Foster moms want you to believe that they are "normal" women doing "normal" everyday things, they just happen to be a foster mom too. The good news is that you are not much different than the women who currently foster with us. You have strengths, you have weaknesses, but you must believe that you truly can help children heal from trauma. You can give your love and your time and we promise, you will not regret it.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being a foster mom. Thank you to those of you considering becoming a foster parent. We are here to support you in your decision and in your journey. Trust yourself, you have what it takes! To learn more visit our Frequently Asked Questions about Foster Care page.