National Foster Care Month – Personal Experience (Part Five)
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Originally posted – 5/25/2020
In honor of National Foster Care Month, EVOLVE Family Services wanted to honor some of our amazing foster care providers. We asked a few of our providers to answer questions about their experience with foster care so far, what they have learned, and what they want prospective foster parents to know before beginning the process.
Our foster care team interviewed Gloria Ontiveros about her journey as an EVOLVE foster parent.
Question 1: Can you share a little bit about your foster care journey, including how long you have been providing care and if you are a relative or traditional provider?
“I have been providing care for my granddaughter for over a year and for my grandson for three months. It has been amazing to care for them.”
Question 2: What has been the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?
“It has reminded me of when my kids were younger. It makes me feel appreciated as a person, grandma, and mom overall. They give my life more purpose.”
Question 3: What have been some unexpected challenges while providing care?
“The main challenge has been injuring my hand, which has made it difficult to do physical chores. The COVID-19 situation has also been hard since I am not able to take the kids out to spend time with friends. Lastly, paperwork for getting payments is confusing!”
Question 4: What is something you have learned while providing care?
“I have learned that I must be very alert around the children since they are young (4 and 2). I feel that you can always learn more as a parent and I learn more each day. I learn how to tailor my behaviors to adjust to their changing behaviors, adapting to the change in food they like, and just learning what they like and don’t like! The foster care trainings have also been helpful to help me learn more, for example about Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome. I was a young mom and feel that I have had to learn more now that I am caring for my grandchildren.”
Question 5: What are the ways you have continued to practice self-care while providing care?
“Sometimes when the kids are in daycare, I will clean and talk to friends. This is a form of self-care for me. I will also take a shower for an hour sometimes and go on walks occasionally. I also love to look up cooking recipes on YouTube!”
Question 6: If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing when you started this journey, what would it be?
“To be patient and remember that good things come to those who wait. I waited for my apartment for almost a year and now I was able to move and take placement of my grandson, which has made the wait worth it.”
Question 7: Anything else you feel would be helpful for prospective foster parents to know?
“It is important to always think of the little ones. You must give them all the love you can. Having faith that you can provide the best care for them is also important.”
Question 8: What resources have you found most helpful during the COVID-19 situation and what additional support would be helpful?
“The extra money I received for a clothing allowance from the county was helpful. The support EVOLVE has offered has also been helpful, especially with translating documents and providing resources.”