Why would you take someone else's child into your home and care for them?
"You hope to make a difference in their lives and to give them a safe place to be."
Glenna and Leland Sasser of Emery County have been foster parents for 13 years. They now help recruit other foster/adoptive families for the Utah Foster Care Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves Utah's children by finding, educating and nurturing families to meet the needs of children in foster care. The Foundation has offices statewide, including one in Price.
The Sassers have helped numerous children in foster care by providing that nurturing home environment. They talk fondly of the 31 children who have stayed with them. The children even come back as successful adults, with children of their own.
Being a foster/adoptive family has brought some pleasant surprises for Karen and Kirk Sitterud of Emery County. They have fostered 130 children throughout their lives as foster parents, adopting 13 of them. Karen and Kirk have also helped several other children reunify with their biological families.
"Faith is a big reason we want to foster and adopt. We are all God's children and we all need help at different times in our lives. As children of God, we have the responsibility to care for the needy, especially children. I believe that helping others brings happiness into our homes."
Foster/adoptive families serve an important group, children who have been neglected or abused.
There are 2,300 Utah children in foster care at any given time.
In rural areas, the need for foster parents is especially acute.
In Carbon and Emery counties, there are 92 children in foster care, with only 62 licensed foster/adoptive homes.
There is a special need for families who will welcome sibling groups into their homes so brothers and sisters can stay together.
When a child in foster care is placed with his or her sibling, there is less trauma and greater success for that child.
Children in foster care also adjust better when they are placed in homes in their neighborhoods, so that they can attend the same schools and be close to their friends and family.
It is important that we have foster/adoptive families in all parts of Carbon and Emery counties. Local residents have the opportunity to help children in foster care right in their own communities.
Foster/adoptive families receive free training and are reimbursed for the cost of providing care. You can be single or married, you can be a stay-at-home or working parent, you can rent or own your home, and you can specify which age group and/or gender would best fit with your family. There is also an active foster family support group that helps nurture families with children in foster care.
"If you are 'on the fence' about whether you want to become a foster/adoptive parent, I can say there is heartache, but also a lot of love that you get from doing this," says Karen Sittured. "You are sad when children leave your home, but you are happy to see them reunified with their biological parents."
Businesses too can be highly effective in getting out the word to their employees and customers interested in becoming foster/adoptive parents. Here are some ways local businesses can get involved.
Provide foster care brochures in your waiting areas.
Hang posters in lunchrooms and other public areas.
Include foster care information in your employees' paychecks.
Schedule a short presentation on foster/adoptive parenting for your employees.
Publish human interest stories on foster parents in the company newsletter.
Sponsor a chalk art square at the Foundation's annual Chalk Art Festival.
For more information about becoming a foster/adoptive parent or on how your business can help, please contact Heather Ogden at (435) 636-0210, toll-free at (877) 506-4666. YOu can also go on line and email her at Heather@ utahfostercare.org.