A Letter from Catherine, Casa de Esperanza Volunteer Community Foster Parent
I always longed to be a mother. Ever since I was very young, I can remember wanting to hold babies and spent hours babysitting as a teen. I even became a teacher because of my love of children! When my husband died after only eight months of marriage, I still had a strong desire to become a parent, but just didn’t know how that would look or if it would happen. The idea of becoming a foster parent was something that came to me gradually.
I was first introduced by Casa de Esperanza after college when a friend invited me to join Casa de Esperanza’s newly started Young Professionals Group. We visited and spent time with the children in the old Casa de Esperanza houses. I loved my time with the YPG and I always kept Casa de Esperanza in the back of my mind even after we “aged out” of the group. During my grief journey, I volunteered at the Casa de Esperanza office helping with paperwork and other office jobs just to stay busy in the summer. Eventually I reached out to Casa de Esperanza to explore the idea of becoming a foster parent. I was welcomed and encouraged by so many people at Casa de Esperanza and now, over a year later, I can say that it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
My experience as a Volunteer Community Foster Parent for three children has been very eye-opening and extremely fulfilling. The education that Casa de Esperanza provides potential foster parents is so enriching and completely changed my level of compassion for people trapped in a cycle of abuse, trauma and neglect. I learned so much - not only about how to care for and treat children in foster care, but a deep understanding that their parents faced many of the same struggles as children. Choosing to place their child in foster care with Casa de Esperanza can change the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their children. My own experiences allowed me to better connect to the children. Something happened in my life that was out of my control and created a lot of chaos and uncertainty for me about my future. Similarly, the children of Casa de Esperanza have not asked to be in the situation they are in, but because of Casa de Esperanza, we are able to make the best out of our circumstances!
There are many emotional highs and lows to being a foster parent. The evening that I dropped my first foster baby off at Casa de Esperanza to be reunited with her mother, I was so sad, missing her and worrying about how she was doing. My caseworker sent me a photo of Amber and her mom at their reunification. That moment was truly a very high, low point! While I felt so heartbroken, I knew that Amber was where she was supposed to be and that the sadness I felt that night must have been small in comparison to the longing her mother had felt for her baby the past 4 months.
For those considering becoming a foster parent, just take one step forward at a time. Call Casa de Esperanza and sign up for an orientation to learn more about becoming a volunteer foster parent. If that feels right, take the next step. You will know if becoming a foster parent is right for you! My family has been instrumental in my foster care journey and love their roles as foster grandparents and uncle. I also have been blessed to have many friends in my life who have shown both of my foster babies so much love and been so supportive of my fostering journey!
Many people think, “I could never be a foster parent, it would be too hard and sad to give them up!” To them I say that yes, it is hard and sad, but there are many more joyful and precious moments in the meantime! Nothing in life is guaranteed to us. Even the things we have chosen are not certain to have happy endings, but we still choose to pursue them because of the happiness they bring us no matter the outcome. Being a foster parent is no exception.