New Bern, NC, November 19, 2018
About half a million children and teens are in the foster care system in the United States today.In North Carolina, there are 11,000 foster care children.At Easterseals UCP, the foster care program assists 270 children annually through the help of foster parents who are trained, supported and financially reimbursed.
Reuniting children with their biological parents or finding appropriate and safe placement is our goal.Two young boys from different families made their way through Easterseals UCP to Kalie and Craig Styron, who have been fostering children for four years.Read about Jeremiah and Jasiah’s journey to a happy place.
"We are proud to work every day with parents like Kalie and Craig, who give their hearts and home to children who need just that – love and a place to call home," said Audrey Fisher, Easterseals UCP Foster Care Program Director in New Bern.In Kalie’s WordsI do not think we can recall our days when we weren’t taking in children. Although it has only been four years, fostering children can place the human heart under a hypnotic trance. It leaves it beating a little differently with intake days, plastic bags of dirty clothes and simple daily joys that become adventurous first’s. Accomplishments that come in every tiny form from sleeping through the night at age 9 or perfect attendance for one week as teenager who never had it.
The tears you cry with your children that most days you don’t even ask why. You just hold them. The pain of loss, brokenness and feelings of unwanted and unloved. The transitions or court hearings that tax their lives. With each tiny soul, slowly begins to fill your memory bank; therefore leaving a timeline where dates don’t necessarily matter as much as the moments do.
No doubt, we believe that every person who steps up to the plate to foster has a backstory that will inevitably aid them in their journey. Our journey is no different. My husband and I, along with our 13-year-old biological daughter sat through weeks of training to take our rightful place in what we become to know as the “not so fair” Foster Care System.We never forget that first call and within days, one by one, we had a sibling set of 4 boys.
This began our season as a foster home. It would be the following summer when we would open the door to an 18 month old boy. Within nearly eight-hundred days of care, we maintained visitations, court hearings, co-parenting, and most importantly how each of these areas affect a child as young as this one. Not all days are good and we learn to focus on the tiny accomplishments. We learn not take things personally. Shortly after his 4th birthday, we were granted guardianship.
In the Summer of 2017, we were asked to care for a 9-month-old baby. He could not roll over, sit up, crawl, stand or speak. He was developmentally behind, to say the least. With an abundant amount of love, he took his first steps on Christmas Day. His birth parents knew he was in the best place. They relinquished their rights and within 6 months, we adopted our first child from the foster care system.
At the end of a case involving children’s lives, we never really go home feeling the desire to jump for joy and celebrate. Although a child has been granted a forever home and we will provide the best opportunities in life to become the best person they can be, we are always reminded that someone lost that day. Birth parents. No matter how their case began and how their case ended, they lost the very child they conceived.
Sitting in a courtroom and watching this is heartbreaking. Our job, as parents, are to share the stories of how our children came to be ours. We honor this through books, storytelling and scrapbooks. We still keep in contact with birth parents if our children desire. We still hold them on bad days and praise them on the good. We still battle feelings of unworthiness. These things are called trauma and they never really go away. We just move through this journey, this season, loving children and learning to validate them, meet them where they are and pray what we do builds a better them.
(Photo courtesy: Portraits by Angelo)
Learn more about the Easterseals UCP Foster Care Program.Become a Foster Parent!
ABOUT EASTERSEALS UCPEasterseals UCP provides meaningful and exceptional services so that children and adults living with disabilities and mental health challenges can live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Learn more about Easterseals UCP at www.eastersealsucp.com.For more information contact:Kathy EdgertonEasterseals UCP Chief Communications OfficerKathy.Edgerton@eastersealsucp.com(O) 919-865-8660(C) 919-208-0621
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