In celebration of May as National Foster Care Month, one Kentuckian shares her journey as a foster parent.

foster care monthMy name is Karra, and I have been married to my amazing husband for 24 ½ years. We have a son and a daughter. We currently have a foster son (but we really do not like to refer to him as our foster son, we prefer to just introduce him as our son). For many years we talked about becoming a foster family. When the time was right for our family, we made the decision to start the process to become foster parents.

Becoming foster parents is a straightforward process. We had to complete 36 hours of training. Our training took place once a week for 9 weeks. After our training was completed, we were certified and considered open for foster children. To stay certified, we have to complete 24 hours per year of continuing training, which is easy to achieve. Our agency offers two Saturday trainings and then they mail you a packet to complete on your own time.

Being a foster parent has a lot of positives and some difficult aspects to it. To watch the child/children come into your home, sometimes lacking social skills and self-respect, and then to watch how they change as you teach them things is a wonderful feeling. Once they let down their walls of defense and see that you are there to care for them, it is cool to see how they start interacting with your family like they had always been there.

The most difficult thing that I have found is that they tell you to treat them like your own, but they cannot mow the grass, ride ATVs, ride in a boat, and go on vacation without having to jump through a million hoops. The limitations are really hard on the child and on the foster parents. But if you can look past those things, foster parenting can and will be very rewarding for you and the children you take into your home.

One of the hardest things for me is for a child to be returned to their birth parent. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for the family, but sad that they are leaving me. I have been very blessed in one situation where one of my children returned to their birth parent and the parent allowed me to continue the relationship with the child. The parent and the child text and call me all the time. That is a blessing to me because I know the child is doing good!!!

Learn more about normalcy provisions and how they would allow children to participate in the activities Karra mentions here. If you are considering opening your home to become a foster parent, visit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.