Want to know what being a foster parent is really like? Talk to a foster mom. Want to learn about different Wisconsin foster agency options? Talk to a foster mom. Unsure if you will qualify to be a foster parent, talk to a foster mom. Nobody can tell you what fostering is really like unless they have fostered themselves. Social workers, therapists, adults who were foster kids themselves... they all have a valuable perspective, but if you want to become a foster parent and are looking for honesty, it is best to go straight to the source. These women are on the front lines, helping children heal from trauma. They welcome the most vulnerable, hurting children of Wisconsin into their homes without question. They willingly change the structure of their families, embrace chaos, and strengthen their own families and relationships by giving so freely.
The ability to help a child or sibling group feel loved and accepted is an art form so many of our foster parents have mastered. They testify that it wasn't always easy in the beginning nor has it gotten easier 5, 10, or 15 years later. However, time brings knowledge, wisdom, and grace to continually love and give from the heart. Foster moms deserve accolades and demand recognition for their selfless giving but if you ask them, the vast majority aren't looking for any of that. They want to help children feel loved no matter the thanks or praise received.
So why do they foster and how has it affected them? We heard from several Community Care Resources foster moms and want to share their testimonials with you. (Some names, comments and other identifying information have been edited for privacy)
Foster mom in northeast Wisconsin has fostered 22 children and adopted 3 foster kids
Our family consists of me, my husband, our sons James (14) adopted in March 2018 just seven months after coming to our home, Stephen (5) adopted May 2017 and our daughter Meri (10) adopted 2008. All of our children were adopted from foster care. 3 dogs, 4 cats, a rabbit, a leopard gecko, and a snake round out our family. We foster because we believe we have what it takes to give a child a family for a season of their life, however long that season may be. Our family offers stability, security, safety, and predictability.
We got our foster care license with CCR in May of 2017. We have been foster parents since 2008, taking 4 years off beginning in 2010 after the adoption of our daughter. We renewed our license in 2014 with our county but quickly learned we wanted more support than what we were receiving. We did our research and found Community Care Resources to be a better fit for our family. We had heard about the support they provide and knew that getting back into fostering would require more support than we had previously received from the county. We have had 22 children come through our home. Some stays were longer than others. We have one placement now, an 11-year-old boy.
I feel people shy away from adopting teens because they have "baggage". But they also have amazing personalities, bright minds, a sense of what they want and need...maybe we just got extraordinarily lucky, but our teen is amazing! Fostering can be difficult on the children already in your home...we've dealt with the loss of kids leaving...we've dealt with the excitement or frustration of having additional children entering our home...Community Care Resources offers many resources and an abundance of foster care support.
Our community has embraced us. We moved to a rural town in Wisconsin for a career opportunity 11 years ago. I have an amazing support system which is critical. I have friends through work, church, and our foster care training. And tons of support through the kid's school where I often volunteer. We have absolutely felt the support of our family, friends, and neighbors in our quest to help these children find permanency.
Foster parent for 30 years to high-risk boys uses patience and open communication
We live in Central Wisconsin and have been fostering teenage, high risk, boys for about 30 years. The last 13 years have been with CCR. As the years go on, we still hear from a lot of our boys and their parents and consider many to be friends now. This is a world of its own. Ups and down's as all families go through but for the most part very rewarding. Often times, people ask us if doing this interfered with our own children. Today our kids are adults and tell us if not for their foster brother's they really would not have been introduced to so many different race's, religions, etc.
For the first seven years we only took in gang member's. Our own children learned a lot of good from the boys and that is helping them in their own adult lives now for the better. YES, there were down's but that is what we are here for. We must remember they are teenager's first, then cope with what they come to you with. Patience and communication are critical. Especially between my husband and I. After all this time, we admit that we don't know it all. Training is critical and CCR is the best for their training and support. I try to remind myself that I am human and need help, foster parents can't be afraid to ask for it. CCR is above all other's when it comes to training and support. We know this for a fact because of the experience with different agencies over the years where support wasn't available.
I keep in touch with so many of the girls we have fostered
I have been with CCR for 15 years and have fostered 35 girls most of whom were teenage girls. It has been an awesome experience and an unforgettable ride. I wouldn’t change it for anything. We are currently in the process of adopting two of our foster daughters. We keep in touch with many of the girls and wouldn’t change a thing about the relationships. The support from CCR is outstanding and critical. If you have a problem they are there 24 hours a day to answer questions you have and help along the way. Also, a Clinical Case Manager comes to our house once a week and helps praise you, problem solve with you, and helps to find resources. They are always there when we need them.
Thank you, CCR for all the wonderful years and all the memories that we’ve had and I will continue doing this until I can no longer.
Retired foster mom, now CCR employee praises the support services
I was a foster mom for about 20 kids while raising my own three children. They were 5, 8, and 10 when we started. I mostly welcomed sibling groups of 2 or 3 but also had a few teenagers as well. If I knew then what I know now working at CCR, things would have been very different for me and the kids that came through my home. We received NO support. The social worker came to the house once per month to check on us. We attended required training and learned some things but mostly we were on our own. I think we did the best we could, being that we had no support. We feel good that we were able to love a lot of kids and help them grow while they were with us and make sure that they felt that love from us and our own children.
My own kids are grown now and I believe that being foster siblings gave them so many experiences that they would not have had otherwise. We keep in touch with several of the kids and their families and one in particular still says he has 3 siblings even though he is an only child.
It wasn't until I started working at CCR that I saw how things should be. I didn't realize how much I did on my own when I was a foster mom. Now that I work at CCR, I tell everyone about the support the agency provides. I hope they believe me, because it is what makes CCR so different than county agencies.
Read more foster parent testimonials
Ready to talk with one of our foster parents? Would you like to have a conversation with our Recruitment Specialist who is also a retired foster mom? CCR is the most transparent foster agency in Wisconsin. There is no question we won't answer. Holding your hand as you consider your options is our pleasure. Becoming a foster parent is a huge decision that takes time and due diligence. If you decide to get a foster care license we promise to support you throughout your entire journey. For more testimonials and stories, Child welfare.gov
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