A website that serves adults over the age of 50 in Lake, Marion, and other surrounding Counties honored local foster moms over the age of 50. Read the story here.
“Life is so complex out there. It’s gotten so rough for some of the children,” says Bobbi of St. Petersburg, a foster mother with 31 years of experience. Today’s foster kids come with lots of mental and emotional abuse. “We give them something they haven’t had before. And when they are in my home, they are mine.”
Wendy and her pastor husband in Fort Myers have been married 40 years and have raised five kids of their own. Now they are foster parents. She says, “The difficulty comes because the kids all come with some history which may be drug or abuse related. That means they are very scared and very hurt and it takes a while to work through it.”
Peggy in Ocala has been a foster mom 23 years. She says, “You don’t do it for the money, you do it for the kids who need love and care.” She’s seen older kids come in from parents who have taught them to do the wrong things and the kids don’t want to change. Peggy gives a hearty laugh and says, “But the little ones are still okay. I’ll take the little ones peein’ and poopin’ any time.”
“You have to love them unconditionally so they can heal. They have all been through some sort of trauma and need to heal. We can help that process,” says Joy in Leesburg.
“I would say the most important challenge is getting to know and understand each child and what they’ve been through and how it has impacted them,” says Victoria from Ocala. “One of the biggest mistakes we made in the beginning was to have the same expectations of foster kids as we did with our own biological kids.”
These women are all foster mothers around or beyond the age of 50. When their phones ring, they may be asked to provide a safe place to live for children who have been removed from their family just minutes or hours before. Many foster children have major physical issues.
Experienced foster moms keep stashes of clothes and child care supplies in closets and drawers for children who arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Their needs include support, encouragement, reassurance, self-esteem, self-worth and most importantly, love. Oh, and food, schooling and toys, too.
Foster moms have access to an array of counselors, therapists, doctors and specialists—all a part of the system which tries to pick up the pieces of the broken lives of families. And at the core of the system is the need for foster mothers.
Eckerd’s Director of Licensing Laurallyn Segur says, “The older foster mothers bring experience and wisdom. They’ve raised families. They understand parenting and love children. Many have a lot to offer and don’t want a house without children in it. They’re ‘lifers’ as far as children are concerned.”
And so, we honor these and all foster mothers, who know that every day really is Mother’s Day when you’re making a difference in the life of a child.
What They Said:
• “It’s very fulfilling and I’m never lonely.”
• “Let it be fun, enjoy them; they will bless your socks off!”
• “Successes come when there’s an adoption that goes well.
The last infant I had was adopted, and I see him on Facebook all the time. I’m seeing him grow up.”
• “With five kids, the real challenge here is making sure that each child gets quality time in the evenings. And then on the 8th day …God created bedtime!”
• “Every single day, you have to make sure these kids know they are loved and that you are committed to helping them walk through their challenges.”
• “When I have a child at home I’m more organized and stay on schedule.”
• “We have a young lady we had in foster care for two years when she was 9 to 11 yrs old. She’s come back to us at 22 and wants to be part of our family! She never forgot the influence we were in her life!”