2019 Foster Care Awareness Month Proclamation Event

On May 1st,  Mayor Paige Chase proclaimed May in Monticello as “Foster Care Awareness Month” during an event honoring the 36 children in foster care from Drew County and the 91 children in foster care in our four-county region of the state (Ashley, Chicot, Desha, and Drew counties) on the town square today.

Community members and representatives from each local organization serving foster children in Drew County participated in a balloon release in the children’s honor, and an art display was erected on the square for the month of May also honoring these children and representing the urgent need for foster homes in Drew County. Right now, only 10 homes serve the more than 90 children in the four county region.

In the art display, the tree leaves represent the total Drew County children who were in foster care last year, and the flowers represent the almost 40 Drew County children in foster care today.

Senator Eddie Cheatham of Crossett, Representative LeAnne Pittman Burchof Monticello, Pastor Branch of Holmes Chapel Presbyterian Church, and Deborah West of The Call in Drew County also spoke, prayed, and brought attention to the need for foster homes in our area. Senator Cheatham read Judge Robert Akin’s proclamation for Drew County in recognition of “Foster Care Awareness Month.”

Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, the Arkansas Division of Children and Family ServicesThe Children’s Advocacy Center of Pine BluffCASA 10th Judicial District, Families in Need of Services (FINS) of the 10th Judicial District Court, The CALL in Drew County, and Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services, Inc. were each collaborators for the event.

Lindsey and Heather – Supporting Biological Families

It’s National Foster Care Awareness Month, and we want to celebrate our families! We love both our foster families and biological families! Foster families exist to SUPPORT biological families until their kids can return home, and even after.

One of our foster moms, Lindsey Snyder, shared a part of her story….

“Meeting Heather and truly getting to know her allowed me to see foster care through a different lens. Her son was the third placement we took after we opened as a foster home in 2015. While I got to know her, I was able to look past her situation and see her for who she was. God blew me away with how He used that relationship to bless my family and hers!

One of the hardest parts of foster care is the simultaneous celebration of a child who returns home and the loss you feel when your relationship with the child being diminished. But when we allowed our relationship with Heather to grow we found so much beauty that we weren’t expecting.

I gained a friend, a fellow mother who was now raising 4 kids by herself. And she’s pretty awesome! She’s so very hard working for her kids and one of the most selfless people I have ever met. We get the joy of being able to babysit occasionally and having family meals together. While it hurt to lose a foster son, I gained what can only truly be described as a nephew! 

I had no idea before entering the world of foster care that the relationship I would have with the biological family would be one of the biggest blessings of my life.”

Sunshine and Rainbows : The Norman’s Story

Sunshine and Rainbows

From guest blogger Tamra Norman, a foster/adoptive mom. Find more stories from the Norman family visiting their blog.

On my last blog post about adopting, I made a comment about this journey not being all sunshine and rainbows.  But then I filled your Facebook feed yesterday with picture perfect pictures and smiling faces of a little baby who was adopted as an infant and came to us from the hospital.  So I have felt this burden to make sure as an advocate for these kids, I clear up a few things.

  • We will begin our 7th year of fostering in May and out of 20+ kids there have been 5 total that have gone up for adoption.  Our girls, Henry, and 2 others.  5.  Let that number sink in.
  • In 6 years of fostering we have only brought 2 babies straight home from the hospital at birth.  Henry, and one who only spent one night with us.  Our first placement was 4 weeks old.  Still a newborn but not straight from the hospital.
  • The majority of our kids have reunified with family members or parents.
  • Henry is number 7 and there’s been one born recently.  He has a half sister who went to live with her father, 5 half siblings (these 5 have the same mom and dad) who are in an adoptive placement, and 1 born in December who is currently in the care of birth family.
  • Henry was on track to leave us and go with his birth dad.  His case was kept completely separate because termination had already happened on the others and reunification with his father was the plan.  I  had actually built a good relationship with dad so I could help out after he left.
  • I couldn’t send him to daycare for the first 8-9 months.  Like it was court and doctor ordered because he was too fragile.  This meant I worked, had 4 other kids, and had to work out his schedule as well.
  • Henry was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  FAS is currently a leading diagnosis only behind autism.  So I decided instead of keeping this as some dark and dirty secret, awareness is key.
Why do I tell you all of this?
  • Because bringing a newborn home from the hospital and adopting them a year later is not the norm.
  • Because if you foster to eventually adopt a newborn, you may get tired of waiting.  I would’ve waited for almost 7 years and let me tell you something…when you are fostering just to hopefully get a newborn you can keep, you won’t make it 7 years.
  • Because sometimes all we get are the pretty pictures on Facebook and we don’t get the real picture behind them.
Am I thrilled Henry is a part of our family?  Absolutely!!  Do I foster babies/kids in the hopes they will stay with us forever?  Absolutely not.  That’s called adoption.  And there is a huge need for adoption with older kids and sibling groups.  We choose to foster, pray for reunification, and pray for restoration in families.  And most of the time, that is exactly what happens.

3rd Annual Run Run Rudolph 5K Run/Walk

Grab your fun-loving, costume-wearing buddies and join us December 1st for the 3rd annual Run Run Rudolph 5k Run/Walk!

We’ll have costume prizes, a team award, and a KID FUN RUN!!

T-shirt guaranteed if registered by November 2!

Register at tiny.cc/DCRRR2018.

$25 – 5K Run/Walk

$10 – Kid Fun Run

All proceeds go to recruiting, serving, and supporting Drew County foster & adoptive families who minister to local kids in foster care!

#servelocal #DrewCountyfosterkids