“We have been foster parents for more than 25 years.
I would love to be able to say those years have been filled with nothing but successful parenting, and appreciative, accepting children and young adults. The glaring truth is, while there have been mountainous triumphs, the foster parent road has been filled with momentous defeat, daily struggle, and oftentimes downright, utter chaos.
I would love to say all that was needed was tender loving care. In actuality, while tender loving care is indeed an important component to fostering children and young adults, it is a misconception to believe that is all that is needed. Safety, security, consistency, firmness, gentleness, and a strong resolve are just a few of the very important attributes a foster parent needs to draw from daily…and at times, hourly.
Over the years, many have asked the question, ‘Why and how do you do it?’ Why? Because when a scared, broken, angry, and hurting youth walks through our doors, (and many times we are the last stop before a residential facility,) and we see them begin to trust again, and flourish in newfound respect for themselves and others, the hard fought battles all fade into the past. It is worth every frayed nerve to experience the transformation of one of God’s beautiful children.
Is it hard? Yes! Do we feel inadequate? Sometimes. Is it wonderful? Absolutely! How do we approach such gargantuan responsibility? By drawing on our years of experience, our years of training, our belief that we are all beautifully and wonderfully made, our united effort, and most importantly, our faith. With God ALL things are possible!
To those who are considering fostering, I would say: ‘remember Rome wasn’t built in a day’, celebrate the small stuff, and try not to fret when things don’t go as planned. Never lose sight of the fact that they [the children] are worth it.”
Sandra and Terry Byers have been foster parents through Caritas Family Solutions for almost 20 years. They have two children and four grandchildren of their own, in addition to fostering 20 or so children and youth over the years, many with specialized needs. They adopted their second child, Izzy, through Caritas in 2012. (Read about their foster-to-adopt story here!) Sandra was trained as a nurse, and her love for people is what drew her to be a foster parent. Terry provides the stability, firmness, and calmness that many youth desperately need. They parent as a team, and feel truly blessed to call themselves foster parents!