More than 17,000 children in Illinois annually have to be removed from their families through no fault of their own. The unfortunate reality is that many kids live in homes where they are victimized each day of their lives by exposure to drugs, alcohol, physical, emotional, or sexual trauma, or suffer from neglect. Every child deserves to live in a safe, loving, and nurturing home.
Izzy is one of those children. She was taken from her parents and entered foster care when she was only five years old and had a difficult time adjusting to her new life. She also struggled in school and had to have special help so she could reach her educational goals.
In 2010, Izzy moved in with Sandy and Terry Byers, a couple who was very interested in working with her to calm her behaviors and help her build a successful future. The foster care team of case workers and counselors decided that it was best for Izzy to become adopted and not return to her biological family. She needed to become part of a caring family.
Though adoption was never the Byers’ intent as foster parents, Sandy and Terry loved Izzy and wanted to be able to continue to care for her and provide her with stability. In 2011, Sandy, Terry, and Izzy Byers became a forever family.
By 2013, eleven-year-old Izzy had flourished with the Byers, and the couple credits her success to the consistent and visible parameters they’ve set, which allow her to feel loved and safe. “She feels protected here,” says Terry. Terry says his daughter made all As and Bs in school after the adoption, and became a happy, playful and energetic child, someone who “tries to make other people’s days brighter.”
Sandy and Terry Byers have now worked with Caritas Family Solutions for almost 20 years. During their time as foster parents, about 20 children have lived in their home. These children, some of whom are now adults, still remain as family in the Byers’ hearts. “The kids can stay here as long as they need to stay here so we can help them learn how to behave and deal with their problems,” says Terry.
“Kids do better once they get here,” says Sandy, a fact she and her husband attribute to their rules and consistency. “Kids need stable boundaries and to know they’re safe,” she adds.