Sheila and James Schlarb have been foster parents for 18 years — spending the first 17 as therapeutic foster parents (foster parents with specialized training to care for children with significant emotional, behavioral, social issues or medical needs). A little over a year ago, the Schlarbs switched their fostering agency to Circle of Care. Their first traditional placement was a group of four boys that they had for a little over a year. “The first time I met the bio family, it was stressful. I’m sure it was for them, too.” Sheila recalls meeting the parents and grandmother of the children during the first meeting, and it was unfortunately tense. “Slowly they started trusting me and we became friends.”
The Schlarbs worked closely together with the boys’ biological family as they went through rehab and worked to get their home ready for the boys to return. When asked about what their family felt as they prepared for the boys to go home, she says “We thought the boys were going to be going home two different times before they actually did, but the judge was not ready to send them home. Both of those times we had cried some tears, me and my daughter. When they finally got to go home we still had some tears, but they were happy tears. I was so excited for the boys and their parents.”
The Schlarbs still keep in touch with the family today, Facetiming with the kids and talking on the phone with the boys mother. “It’s not always easy,” Sheila says, “sometimes it’s very hard, but in the end — it’s worth it!”
Circle of Care’s prayer is that reunification is possible as families go through the process of the foster care system.