Foster parents are an exceptional group of people who live in our community. They may be your friends, your neighbours or your co-workers. These low-profile, but highly valued individuals offer foster children guidance, connection, supervision, advocacy, positive life memories and much more.
Human beings are social creatures with an instinctive need to attach. Foster Parents provide attachment opportunities, but at the same time need to prepare that child to move on to permanency. Yes, permanency is the goal – that safe place the foster child can call their forever family. This often means that the child is able to return to their biological family or move on to an adoptive home. A high percentage of the adoptive homes are foster parents themselves.
Foster parents meet high standards set by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Fragile newborns to bristly 18-year-olds all need extraordinary care for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they stay for a day or two but often for a year or longer. In many cases lifetime relationships are developed between foster children and their caregivers.
Qualities they possess are flexibility, patience, sense of humour, resilience, loving kindness and a ‘never-give-up’ attitude. Often with silently broken hearts they release this child into a new and hopeful chapter of his or her young life. Against harsh odds, foster parents believe in the potential good within each child or youth who comes into their care.
During the past six years I have met and worked with some of the best people you’d ever want to know – foster parents. Their exceptional efforts to help each individual foster child, have left me inspired and often speechless. Please join with me in celebrating our Shuswap foster parents.
Judy Flintoff, co-ordinator – Okanagan Foster Parents Association