Guest post by Elizabeth Chute, Eckerd Community Alternatives Licensed Foster Parent. In part one of a two part story we learn what motivated Elizabeth and her family to first become a foster family.
My name is Elizabeth Chute, and three years ago my husband Chris and I wanted very much to grow our family. We attended an Orientation sponsored by Eckerd Kids that was designed to answer questions about adoption and foster care. We attended in order to find out more about the adoption process. Our 7 year old daughter came along with us. She listened just as intently as we did, learning about the needs of children effected by issues of abuse and neglect. When the orientation was over our 7-year-old looked at us and without blinking an eye she said, “Is anyone else in this family feeling led to foster?” Our daughter opened up our eyes to the challenge and life changing experience of becoming foster parents.
We quickly came face-to-face with the reality that every day children are coming into care due to issues of abuse and neglect. We learned that within Pasco County alone there are nearly 5,000 reports of abuse and neglect against children that are investigated every year and that roughly 4 to 7 percent of those investigations conclude with the removal of children from the home. Many of those children need loving, safe foster homes in which to live while their parents work on the issues that brought their children into care. Within days of becoming licensed foster parents our family grew from 3 to 6 as we excitedly received 3 children into our care. Children would continue coming into our home. Some would stay days while others would stay with us for months at a time. One of the most rewarding parts of being foster parents is working not only with the children coming into our home, but also working with the biological parents, trying to assist them in any way possible to be successful in their desire to reunify with their children.
Without a doubt, we were certainly growing our family unit, and then came Liam. This little boy changed our family in the most beautiful way.
In part two of this series we learn more about Liam who came to the Chute home as an infant, and about working with foster children’s biological parents to provide second chances for families.