The following story was sent to us recently by Child Crisis Arizona, one of Mesa United Way's longtime partner agencies:
Mary, a 23-year-old single Mesa resident, came to our program in 2011 to become licensed for foster care. Her two nieces had been removed from her sister’s home and were in a shelter in Mesa. As soon as the case manager found out Mary was becoming licensed, she placed the girls in Mary’s home. Mary was licensed within four months. After being in Mary’s home for a year, the girls were reunified with their mother and returned home. Mary made the decision to help other children by fostering a Native American baby girl and her 4-year-old brother. She provided a loving home for these children for almost two years until they were returned to their parents. Within two weeks, her nieces had been removed from their mother’s care for the second time and were in Mary’s care once again. Mary began this process as a young caring woman who devoted all of her time and energy to caring for these children. She was a quick learner in foster parenting training and she continually sought out resources and information. She frequently asked for support and ideas to meet the children’s needs from our staff. She nurtured all of these children as if they were her own and with judgment, skills and patience typically seen in parents far beyond her young adult age.
When the Native American children were removed from her home very abruptly and with no opportunity for Mary and the children to prepare for the move, it was very challenging for her to come to grips with the fact that this had happened in the way it did. She grieved for the children and sought out our agency’s counseling services so she was able to effectively care for her nieces despite her grief over the loss of these children.
Mary and all of the children in her home attend all of the agency’s bi-monthly events. She has been to Foster Family Labor Day Camp with us every year since she became licensed. She continually impresses our staff with her dedication to her children and has received a special award at our Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner twice. One of these awards was given for the hours of respite she had provided to other foster families. Not only has she been an amazing parent for the children in her home, but she has also been a source of support for many other foster families.
On Nov. 21, 2015, which was National Adoption Day, Mary adopted her nieces. She has closed her license to focus on being a family of three. The impact she has made on these children and other foster families has been extraordinary.
Want to become a foster parent? Child Crisis Arizona can help. Click HERE.
You can help foster children and foster parents by supporting Helen's Hope Chest, Mesa United Way's free clothing bank. Click HERE.
Photo: A baby plays at the Child Crisis Center in Mesa.