Villages Foster Parents Share the Biggest Joys, Fears of their Journey
Gretchen and her husband, John, carefully considered the ins and outs of foster parenting before making a commitment. One of the biggest questions was if they could handle parting ways with children in their care.
It’s something many new foster parents ask themselves. Gretchen and John admit the first good-bye was one of the toughest things they’ve ever done. “I keep the realistic expectation that these children can go home at any time,” Gretchen says. “You’re doing the work to make kids better, but also realizing you may not get to see the end of their chapter.” Still, their commitment to caring for vulnerable children remains strong.
The couple currently cares for two children – a newborn and a 6-year-old who has been in their care since age 4. Gretchen says having the opportunity to watch the 6-year-old grow up and enjoy childhood has been one of the greatest rewards of foster parenting. The couple enjoys providing opportunities to participate in activities such as soccer and karate, as well as celebrate special days like birthdays and school achievements
Gretchen admits the couple’s success as foster parents in Indiana is partly because of the ongoing support of The Villages and family and friends. “I can’t imagine doing this without The Villages,” she says. “Our case manager has been great.”
Despite any fears before becoming foster parents, Gretchen calls foster parenting an experience that has enriched her life. Her advice to anyone considering foster parenting is to be clear about the motivation behind the decision.
“When you accept a (child) in your home, it’s never guaranteed to be forever, so you have to guard your heart,” says Gretchen. She also encourages families to make sure they have a personal “village of support.”
“My parents are a great resource, and we have friends who are a great resource as well. They always show up for us,” says Gretchen.