Foster parents at Children’s Bureau must be prepared to open their families to children of all ages. When Crystal and Lau joined us as a foster family, they matched with multiple infants and eventually adopted two of their foster children to permanently join their family. Read more about their experience in the interview below.
CB: How did you find Children’s Bureau and why did you choose to foster or foster-adopt through this agency?
Shortly after the birth of our first child, we looked up information online and Children’s Bureau had a lot of positive feedback. We went to our first information meeting soon after, but it wasn’t until after the birth of our second child that we decided to look into it again. We attended another information meeting and decided to move forward with the application and training process.
CB: What was the process of becoming a resource parent and how long did it take?
It took us about a year to complete everything. Most of the process only took a few months but the last thing we needed to do was upgrade our vehicle to accommodate more children, so that is what slowed us down.
CB: What inspired you to become resource parents and how has it changed your life?
Crystal: During my teens, I had a cousin who was placed into foster care. I had no clue what that was up until that point. She had a wonderful foster family and lived with them until 18 years of age. Seeing what she experienced and knowing that her life was better because of her foster family convinced me that it was something I was going to do at some point.
Lau: My Mom was a foster child. She was raised by a wonderful family who treated her as their own. That was always in the back of my head so when Crystal and I discussed the possibility of fostering, it just seemed right.
CB: How have you helped the children transition back to their families? What was that like for you?
We’ve only had infants join our family and they were all short-term, so there wasn’t a huge transition. We always made sure they had more than what they arrived with and we always provided photos and a letter for the family. We adopted two biological siblings that joined our family at different times during a 4- year period and last month we finalized adoption of our youngest. Three adoptions since our journey as a resource parent began!
CB: What were the birth parents/family like and how much contact do you have with them?
We had little to no contact with birth parents with most of the infants that stayed with us short-term. There was one parent who called and thanked us for taking care of her son. She was very appreciative of the photos and letter. With our youngest we were not able to stay in communication with biological parents post adoption but have a great relationship with his Mimi (his biological grandmother) and his biological sisters who live with her. We speak on a weekly basis see each other regularly. We’re grateful that we were able to maintain a relationship with the biological family this time around.
CB: How did you incorporate the birth parents/family into your child’s life?
When fostering communicate regularly with parents via text or phone call. We also type up weekly updates where we inform them of milestones met, anything discussed at doctors’ appointments, favorite toys, favorite foods and what their daily schedule is like. With our youngest, we meet up with his biological family for playdates and I send photos and videos to his Mimi on a regular basis. It has been such a positive and rewarding experience.
CB: How has Children’s Bureau helped you on this journey?
Children’s Bureau has always been quick to respond whenever we have questions – regarding each child’s needs, scheduling, and when needed, guidance on how to address certain challenges or topics with the child’s parents.
CB: What activities/therapies have the children joining your family through foster care experienced?
All of our children have benefited from early intervention, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and speech. Our adopted children and the child we are currently fostering still participate in at least one of these on a weekly basis. I have witnessed incredible growth and progress because of these resources. They have also participated in extracurricular activities like ballet, tumbling, art, and cooking classes.
CB: How did you manage your and other family member’s feelings when a child goes to live with another family?
Our older kids who are 12 and 10 years old don’t remember what our life was like before we became resource parents. They are very much involved in the process and understand that what happens is very much out of our hands. They miss all the little ones but also express joy when they hear that the little ones have gone back to the family that loves them very much. Every once in a while they will ask about them and wonder what their life is like now. We have been resource parents for 8 years now, so extended family and friends are accustomed to the
CB: What challenges have you faced as a resource parent and what have you learned?
We had to learn to let go and trust the process all while advocating for the children and making sure all their needs were met by doctors, therapists, and parents.
CB: Tell us about your child(ren) today and their interests.
The eldest loves all things science and Star Wars. Our 10 and 7-year-old love dance and theatre. Our 6-year-old son loves building and has really shown interest in art. The youngest 2 year old loves “cooking” all day and watching musicals.