Growing up, Bethany didn’t know what it felt like to live in a stable, loving home. At nine years old she was taken into foster care and placed in a home with two of her five siblings. When she entered care, Bethany was scared and felt uncomfortable living in an unfamiliar home. She lived with her first foster family for two years before they could no longer care for all three girls and Bethany was moved to a new home.
Living in Greenville, Vandalia, Peoria, Granite City and finally Belleville, the only consistent part of Bethany’s life was change. In 2012, Bethany moved to Belleville and was placed in Teresa’s home. Bethany was 11 at the time and although she had spent more than two years in foster care she was still uncomfortable moving to another unfamiliar home.
“It took a while for Beth to get adjusted,” Teresa said. “After about a year she started to open up and feel loved and wanted.” As the mother of three daughters, a foster parent, adoptive parent and owner of a day care operated out of her home, Teresa has spent most of her life fulfilling her passion; caring for children. “The hardest part of foster parenting is getting children to adapt. Children just want to feel loved and receive attention,” Teresa added.
Teresa became a foster parent in 2009 and has since fostered more than 11 children in her home. Before becoming licensed, Teresa enjoyed her home being filled with the laugher of children. Once her girls were old enough to move out on their own, she missed their company and decided to begin caring for others’ children by operating a day care. Teresa decided to become a licensed foster parent when she heard about the opportunity through her sister, who is also a foster parent through Caritas Family Solutions.
“Foster parenting allows me to continue playing a parenting role and to be there for the children to raise them the right way,” Teresa said. “Some children come from a home with no guidance and it is important to teach them tough love and responsibilities.” Throughout the years, Teresa has been a foster parent to children of all ages. “The hardest part is letting go of the children when they return home, but we have to do what’s best for them,” she added. However, returning home isn’t always in the best interest for the child.
In August 2016, adoption papers were signed and Teresa officially became Bethany’s mom. This time around, change has been a positive thing for Bethany, who is now a high school student. She enjoys school and spends her free time reading and helping Momma with the other children. Bethany hopes to one day own her own book store and has even considered becoming a foster parent. “Being a foster child was difficult, but Momma made me feel comfortable,” Bethany said smiling up at her new mom. “I would like to tell other children entering foster care to hang on because things will get better.”