Here are some real experiences in the words of our foster families:
Our family has been a part of the CSV family for about 4 years. During this time, we have had 6 placements ranging from ages of 6 weeks to 18! It has been an adventure that we would not want to be on with anyone other than the amazing individuals at CSV. Throughout the years we have had a wide variety of situations that have come up and each time our caseworkers have helped us navigate the best they could. Through hospitalizations, a pandemic, a transition to college, and so many other events, they have been an intricate part of our team. We recommend CSV to anyone we encounter that wants more information on fostering. It has been a great experience being supported through the good and the bad!
When our biological children moved out on their own, me and my wife were curious about taking in foster children into our home, we had certain criteria though, we were not thinking about adoption and we were skittish of getting teenagers. We went through the training and the first aid classes and anxiously awaited “the call”. The call came in and it was for three boys of Cuban decent and one of which was a teenager. We took them in and before we knew it we were adopting all three boys. There was many ups and downs over the years but those boys became part of our family as much as our own. They’re all grown up now and are finishing college and all three are success stories. Over the 15 years we have taken in or helped over 30 children and it has been the highlight or our lives. We have had the opportunity to work with each staff member at CSV, and each has their own unique skills and talents, and each one is our favorite. They’re always a phone call away during tough times or to share the excitement of goals achieved. To anyone out there that may be undecided, please take the next step and feel the Joy and blessings that our home has had for the last 15 years of working with CSV.
Author Marge Kennedy stated, “The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us all to become our best while looking our worst.” I think this is a perfect description of our CSV family. From the very first day, the CSV staff, the TFC workers and other resource families aimed to know and understand all about our home & family. They accepted our quirks, strengths, weaknesses and personal family dynamics with transparent understanding. They have seen us at our very best and ‘our house is a mess, mascara is running, snot is dripping’ very worst. Given that, we have assurance that when children are referred and placed, consideration has already been given that they will be a good fit for us, and us for them.
To those who do not have experience or understanding of foster care, it only appears chaotic, unhinged, fast & tumultuous for everyone. Underneath appearances though, there is greater meaning, support, growth, relationships and the changing of lives. There are times when we may not look our best, may not act our best, may be too tired or drained to even contemplate what state we do look but because we are part of the CSV family, we do have the assurance that through it all, we are all achieving better, will be supported and in turn, all will be blessed.
I don't want to share a story of how I helped my foster children, but how they helped change me, my husband and my kids. Siblings B & R were our first foster children. B came to us at 15 months and R at 3 weeks. Being 45 years old with my older teens and now 2 babies in diapers was really a challenge. The many things they taught us will never be forgotten. They taught us that you don't have to be born from the same parents to not feel unsurpassed feelings of love. Both babies taught us patience, and there was true joy when R smiled for the first time and said his 1st word and took his 1st steps. They taught my own children about being unselfish enough to share your parents. The "babies" (as we called them) taught us that a family is not just made up of DNA, but heartfelt feelings. I can honestly say that it was the most rewarding thing we have ever done as a family.
Without a doubt it has been a huge blessing to be a part of Children Services of Virginia. I'm not sure we would be able to make it through the ups and downs of being foster parents without CSV. While we know God has called us to be foster parents, it is the support, communication, and care that the case workers at CSV give, which helps us walk the awesome, but emotional road of foster parenting. The case workers at CSV have hearts of compassion, listening ears, and the feeling they are with you in this journey. We would not want to do it anywhere else.
I have to thank everyone at Children’s Services of Virginia for being so supportive. My wife and I have adopted our foster son and the adoption was signed by the judge a few days ago. We did not have any idea what to expect when we went through training with CSV but I must say everything we learned did prepare us to manage life with a new one in the house. T. is such a resilient kid with a great sense of humor and a real joy to be with. Surprisingly we became friends with T's extended family including aunts, uncles, cousins and his grandparents. They are so supportive of our efforts and have encouraged us to move forward and adopt. T's CSV workers have been amazing and very supportive.
It’s all about love and acceptance, nurturing and boundaries, caring enough to hang in there - it’s about FAMILY - a sense of belonging, laughter, hope & truth. We cherish and appreciate every child and always look forward to welcoming new ones into our home. The reward comes when past suffering fades and the child begins to blossom into a new life with a brighter future.
When we began doing foster care 4+ years ago, we had no idea the changes it would make in our lives! There is so much more to being a parent than giving birth—we spend countless hours rocking, listening, sharing, physically caring for, and most of all, loving children of all ages. And we are parents to them all! We have been able to adopt our first two foster children—a set of twins. Although they are a different color than we are and someone else actually gave birth to them, they are our children. Foster care is one of those wonderful experiences in life … you often get back so much more than you give.