Bismarck, N.D. (KXNET) —”I’m like, I’m not cool enough to be a foster parent. I do not wear an apron. I probably curse too much. I’m not cool enough to be a foster parent,” Chris, local foster parent, said.
But that was far from the truth, and since becoming a foster parent eight years ago, Chris and her husband have fostered 105 children, they have successfully reunited 25 families, and they have adopted two of their foster children!
And what keeps her going, day in and day out?
She says it’s impacting one child and making a positive difference in one life.
“They have to live in this and they don’t get to choose what happened to them, or whose home they end up in,” Chris explained. “What if I was just dropped off at some stranger’s home and expected to live there? No answers, no excuses. You live there, you eat with them. That’s your family now.”
There are many myths when it comes to becoming a foster parent.
Jamie Anderson, a social worker with Nexus PATH, explains foster care parents can be single, married, live a house, trailer or apartment.
And it doesn’t matter how much or how little experience you have with kids.
“That’s our job is to train you and to help you get that experience and help you feel comfortable,” Jamie said.
Foster parents are needed for all ages, but especially teens, who tend to get the bad rap.
“I think sometimes people think of what they hear in TV shows or movies and everyone’s scared of taking the teens. They want the small little kids where everything’s easy, and I would challenge that it’s not always that way,” Jamie explained. :We have little ones that have had a lot of things, a lot of appointments, a lot of supports they’ve needed. And we’ve had teenagers that don’t need as many, sometimes it just depends on the kids themselves.”
One teenager made a remarkable impact on Chris’ life.
He arrived at her home, and didn’t speak for weeks.
“This young man had been in over 21 foster homes prior to me. 21,” Chris shared. “And, sorry, he had been in foster care since he was three. His mind had been developed around, if I fail, they’re going to leave me if I fail, they’re going to leave me or make a mistake. They’re going to, they’re going to send me to the next home.”
But one morning, he simply asked “What’s for breakfast.”
She says that’s when their relationship began to blossom.
“I’m happy to say this young man is now 21 years old, going to NDSU and he’s going to get his engineering degree” Chris explained . “He’s a good boy and nd he’s Substance Free, working his butt off.”
And the love and support Chris showed him is what has helped thousands of kids who have been in foster care, succeed.
“Having that one person that believed in them, or that one person that supported them, really does make a difference,” Jamie said.
As Chris has learned, it’s also about believing in the child’s family.
“So Foster Care has changed me from a person with no compassion for people who make mistakes into someone who’s,” Chris explained, “I get it. I get it. I’m not perfect either. And if I was judged and that was held against me for the rest of my life, how would I feel.”
So if you are on the fence about becoming a foster parent…
Chris “don’t question it, just do it. Just do it. You can impact one kid, that’s all you need to do.