Laura has been a professional foster parent for 28 years. During these years, she has always had at least one child in her home. At times, she’s had as many as 12.
All told, Laura has fostered around 150 kids. And she’s not afraid of taking the tough kids and sibling groups. In recognition of her service, she was named Washington County’s Foster Parent of the Year in 2010.
The children drive Laura’s generosity, “I love the kids and there are always lots of kids in need.” Circle of Care’s Child SHARE program delivers fuel for their journey.
Child SHARE supports foster parents by providing material goods like car seats, clothes, welcome baskets, and occasional tickets to community events. Just as important as these supplies is the emotional and spiritual support of the Child SHARE network. “There are always times when you need prayer,” Laura shares.
It is easy for children in foster care to feel isolated from their peers. That’s why Child SHARE events like summer picnics are so important. The kids see others who are in the same scenarios. “It’s good for kids to see other big families,” Laura explains. Many have been through unbearable trauma so having peers and support groups are critical.
One mantra that Laura teaches her kids is, “You’re braver than you think.” It is a saying she repeats when her kids need to deal with seemingly small things like how to handle bugs in the house. She also repeats it for bigger things like going to get a shot at the doctor. The end result is mental strength that gives her children the courage to face their fears.
For one of her children, Laura explains, that meant going into his bedroom alone because, “…bad things happened in the bedroom.” That’s why it was an accomplishment when her son went into his upstairs bedroom by himself. He was proud, so he yelled down to her, “I’m in the bedroom, I’m all by myself, and I’m ok!”
This young boy is one of three siblings Laura is in the process of adopting. In her house, the other kids refer these three as the “new kids.” Laura has 3 children from birth and 9 from guardianship, adoption, or who are in the process of being adopted.