Consider fostering to help a local child
My family is big: I have seven aunts, nine uncles and 20-plus cousins. I have my niece and nephew that I adore and another on the way; experience with babysitting; I have volunteered at an elementary school, wrote a children’s book; and even worked at a park that had school groups visit.
I’ve been around kids my whole life and always knew I wanted to be a mom. I am married and did the college thing, so it’s time for a family of my own, right? Anyway, without going into too much detail, I struggle with infertility. My husband and I looked at all of our options, and decided to go with Charles County Department of Social Services (DSS) so we could foster a child or two.
I wanted to be able to provide a safe, loving and stable environment for a child that needed our help. The staff at DSS has been very nice and supportive since day one. We took the P.R.I.D.E. training, which met once a week for about two months. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from “what is fostering” to drugs and emotional challenges. Before I knew it, we were filling out a packet of paperwork which included fingerprinting, notarization, driving records, medical exams, references, childhood experiences and more.
Once all that paperwork was completed and turned in, the fire marshal visited our home. Then county sanitation also visited. Safety is important, especially for placement of a child, so you can never be too thorough. The whole process took a few months, but our home study was finally done. Our case worker was very helpful during all of this and put many hours into our case. Anyone with extra room in their home and hearts should consider fostering; there are so many kids that need it.
The extensive process is worth the time because just days later, by sheer luck, we had a child join our home. We adjusted rather quickly. We have regular visitations with the birth parents and as foster parents, go to doctors’ appointments and keep up with court dates while we wait. Whatever the outcome, it’s very rewarding to know we have been keeping one child safe. I take a picture daily, and these pictures are printed and put in a photo album with the date. I plan to write a poem that goes with it as well. Putting together the album, seeing all the smiles and shopping for various things has been one of my favorite part of fostering so far.
Individuals interested in becoming foster parents in Charles County can contact Claudelle Clarke-Parchment at 301-392-6727 or cclarke@ maryland.gov at the Charles County Department of Social Services. Amanda Mosely via Charles County Department of Social Services, La Plata