Ft. Lauderdale, FL – National Adoption Month Foster Parent Stories
As National Adoptions Day approaches us, individuals like Aaron and Matt from Pompano Beach, Florida have other plans for helping children; they are foster parents. “We became foster parents with the hope of adopting one day and it has turned out that pursuing foster care instead has blessed us tremendously.” Aaron and Matt became licensed foster parents with the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) in August of 2010. Since then, they have helped sixteen children, including children in respite care (short term care for youth). Currently, they are taking care of three youth: a sibling group of two boys ages 3 and 5 and a 16 year old teenager. All three children have their own individual story; a story of unfortunate abandonment and neglect. Their 16 year old foster son, for instance, came into the care of the Department of Children & Families as a result of coming out to his parents. Unable to support their biological child’s sexual orientation, they decided that the best place for him would be a shelter. Coincidentally, when Aaron and Matt learned about him they were not very interested in working with teens. They wanted to focus on fostering younger children, but as soon as they had the opportunity to spend time with him, they just knew he belonged in their home where he would receive all the love, compassion and trust he deserves.
Aaron and Matt report that helping children through foster care has had dramatic effects on their lives. “Its more natural than you think it would be and more comforting than you would ever imagine. Feeling the joy when you pick them up from school and seeing them grow and appreciate the smallest things brings us so much satisfaction.” Matt says, “I love that I get to be a kid again and play with them all the time.” Taking care of the younger sibling group has been met with some challenges as well, including behavioral and adjustment issues, but according to Aaron and Matt, “Once they understand they’re safe in our home and loved, these behaviors tend to dissipate. Especially our 16 year old son, he’s more confident in himself now and more social. When he came here he hardly talked, now he’s got a social life and is comfortable in his own skin. We are so happy that we helped him to get there.”
When the question, “What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a foster parent” was posed to the family, Aaron replied, “NYAP is totally supportive. From the awesome support and weekly therapeutic services we receive, NYAP has made it easy for us to sincerely enjoy fostering. Receiving the one-on-one support and 24-7 help, including holidays, has made it amazing to be a foster parent.” His foster son stated the following, “It’s very great to be a foster parent because you’re helping children who are in need and you get to show them love. I love my foster parents; they’re my family.”
For more information on becoming a foster parent in Flordia, please contact NYAP at: (954) 596-5284 or visit our website on http://www.nyap.org.