Kokomo Couple Find Their Calling Through Foster Parenting
Thirteen years and 43 children later, Santos and Cassie still get excited to share their journey as foster parents. What started as a heart’s calling for Cassie evolved into a mission of love and advocacy for the couple, who eventually adopted three daughters through foster parenting.
“Sometimes kids need your love, sometimes they need you to be their friend, sometimes they need you to tell them they’re right, and sometimes they just need someone to listen. Really, they just want to know that somebody is there for them,” said Santos.
The couple began the foster parent certification process before they were married. Cassie, a realtor, fell in love with the idea as she got to know clients who were foster parents. Santos agreed to go through the process with Cassie, but the impact of foster parenting didn’t become real to him until a trip with a group of foster youth in their care. Everyone was enjoying the fun of a traveling game in the vehicle when one of the children said he hoped to have a similar experience with his children one day.
“That’s when I felt the significance of what being a foster parent really meant,” Santos said.
The couple recalls many high points as foster parents such as celebrating accomplishments like a good grade or acceptance into college. They also admit there are hard good-byes, including when a child returns to their biological parent or goes to a permanent home.
“We have learned that the biggest reason we are sad is because something that made us so happy was ending. That’s ok. These kids never forget you, and you won’t either, so don’t focus on them leaving. Be excited that you now are the proud owner of new awesome memories!” Santos said.
If you are interested in learning more about foster parenting, The Villages offers Info Sessions statewide to provide information about the process. Find location, dates and times here.