Fostering + Adoption = Family

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Author: 
Mary Caros
Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Founded in 1967, the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations (BCFFPA) has been providing information, education, support and advocacy to foster parents and prospective foster parents for over 44 years. The Association works in partnership with MCFD and other provincial and regional agencies to ensure B.C’.s children receive quality in-home care.

Very excited, and understandably nervous, adoptive parents often have occasion to spend lots of time in the homes of foster moms and dads while they do pre-placement visits before bringing their child home. There are many stories of well-supported transitions where adoptive and foster parents create a close bond and stay in touch with each other long past the placement of a child. These continuing familial-type bonds are so valuable for children. Whether or not these ongoing relationships are possible, foster parents always remember the children they have cared for and count them as family.

Jayne Wilson is the executive director of BCFFPA and has a diverse background focusing on support to organizations that help families. She is committed to supporting B.C.’s kids in care and foster parents through increasing service capacity and accessibility.

“It is my pleasure to work with foster parents on a daily basis,” says Wilson. “These fantastic folks open their hearts and homes to children and often their siblings and family members, giving them the consistent care, guidance and nurturing that these children otherwise wouldn’t receive.”

Most often, foster parents say a regretful goodbye to the young people in their care as they transition into adoptive or other placements – or return home, but sometimes these important connections remain for life. “Many of the foster parents I know maintain lifelong contact, becoming true family to their former foster children and the next generation of children,” said Wilson.

For more information about Foster Family Month events, fostering and BCFFPA’s services, contact 1-800-663-9999, or visit www.bcfosterparents.ca.

Fostering Facts

As of August 2015 there are approximately 7,200 B.C. children in foster care, with 5,300 of those placed with more than 3,000 foster parents across the province[1]. There is a chronic shortage of foster parents and respite foster families in B.C.

When a child enters foster care, the aim is to return them to their birth parents as soon as possible. If it is determined that they can not return to their parents, other options, including adoption will be explored.

Around one third of the children that are adopted from the Ministry of Children and Family Development are adopted by their foster parents.

Foster Friends Forever

"My adopted mother is a rare kind – someone who doesn’t just love children, but someone who lives for children. She loves unconditionally, endlessly, and altruistically. She has not only provided me with the most wonderful life, but has blessed the lives of many other families in need. She has been a foster parent to almost a dozen children, and has spent the better part of her lifetime running an infant/toddler child care centre. She has also been a very supportive and influential person in the lives of my two children. I aspire to be as wonderful a mother as she has been to me."
- Bianca Bujan

"Our kids’ foster families have made our kids the people they are and they have done a beautiful job. It takes an amazingly strong person to raise a child for someone else, and to love that child and then give her to the family she has been waiting for. To our foster families, thank you for loving our kids before we could, for caring for them and blessing their lives."
- Mel Stolz

"I can remember how nervous we were to meet Laura. She had taken our son home from the hospital just before Christmas, “because a baby should have a family for his first Christmas.” He was five lbs at 6-weeks-old and the list of possible ailments was long. He was baby 91 for foster parents Laura & Barry. Four months later, we arrived and Laura had left the door open. It was a small gesture and maybe more convenient (with three little ones to look after) than intentional, but it symbolizes the welcoming person that she is. She put my son in my arms the moment I walked in and invited us for coffee and a chat as we fell in love with our new little man. On that amazing day, which could have been about her saying good-bye, her mind and heart were open to the importance of this moment in all of our lives. We’ve since formed a bond that’s more than family and so much more than friendship, and I am eternally grateful for the love and strength she gave to a child she knew she would not parent forever."
- MJ Marshall

[1]: This includes children in foster care placements in MCFD offices, and in Delegated Agencies. These figures also only include children in regular family care, restricted family care, and levels 1 through 3 foster care. Children who receive specialized care from foster parents are not included in the above count.

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