Fostering When You Are An Empty Nester: One Couple’s Journey
When children grow up and leave the house to pursue college and careers, the house can become very quiet. Many parents who experience becoming empty nesters still feel that they have much to give a child. Meet Ronald and Benita, who decided to become foster parents after their children became older and one by one went off to college. “We still have a lot of love to give and we decided having a foster child was a way to share that love with someone who may need it.”
Like most people interested in becoming a foster parent, Ronald and Benita had concerns. “We had reservations of whether we would make good foster parents. Being a foster parent is different because you are raising someone else's child. One does not know the method of parental rearing the child has had. As a foster parent, you must figure it out.” Ronald and Benita quickly learned that just like parenting your own children, what you try may work or it may not and have found that the key has been having the patience and understanding to try again.
Of course, Ronald and Benita ran into challenges with their first placement. “The biggest challenge has been establishing trust between our foster child and us. We understand trust takes a while. Other than gaining her trust, the challenge has been the behaviors.” Ronald and Benita have great perspective when it comes to behaviors children in foster care display. “We view the behaviors as a reflection of the child’s situation not the child.”
With any challenge there also comes gains. “Progress has been the most rewarding. We view progress simply as getting a hug or a drawing from our foster child.”
Ronald and Benita have just begun their journey as foster parents this year and look forward to serving more children in their community.