Sometimes when you see a need over and over again, you just have to step in. That’s what happened to Holly.
As a single woman working as a nurse in pediatrics, she cared for lots of patients who were also children in the foster care system. And over the years, her desire to become a foster parent grew.
She just wasn’t sure how it would work, since she held a Monday-through-Friday 40-hour-a-week job.
“I met a foster mom who’s foster child was a patient at the hospital,” Holly shares. “She encouraged me to attend an informational meeting. So I went. I met so many foster parents from many walks of life, and it answered all of my questions. The biggest thing is I found out that Medina County Job and Family Services would pay for childcare and transportation. It gave me the confidence to take the next step.”
After taking foster classes and getting certified, Holly took in her first placement: A seven-year-old boy. After a year, she welcomed a one-month-old girl. (The children are now eight years old and six months old.)
“It was really nice to have my foster son with me for almost a year before any other children joined our family,” says Holly. “We were able to really bond and become a family.”
Holly spent that first year lavishing her foster son with love, reading books together, and learning how to enjoy new foods. She also taught him skills that a lot of us take for granted, simple everyday things such as taking pride in one’s self with grooming tips and establishing table manners.
Holly has been dedicated to making her foster son feel like a part of the family, and takes great care in showing him how to be independent. She has been thrilled to see him growing and thriving under her care.
“Staying consistent and encouraging him was key,” shares Holly.
Having a support system in place has been another critical component for Holly to be successful.
“My extended family is amazing,” she states. “They treat my (foster) son and daughter like family and the kids feel that bond. My kids have gone on all of our family vacations, and my sister asked him to be a groomsman at her wedding. Everyone has just embraced them.”
Holly has also introduced normalcy into her foster son’s life by getting him involved in local sports teams, taking swim lessons, and making new friends.
“It’s not always easy,” she shares. “And we have some bad days. I just work at staying calm and providing a safe space for him to have some big feelings. Some of the things he’s dealing with are going to take a lifetime to overcome. But I’ve seen so much progress in him.”
Holly encourages others to consider becoming a foster parent.
“I’m glad I took the leap,” she says. “You need a support system in place, whether that’s your family, friends, faith community, or beyond. But aside from that, you just need to be willing to treat that child as your own and love them hard. Because that’s what they need the most.”
If you’re interested in learning more about fostering, get in touch with Medina County Job and Family Services.