Kathryn became a foster parent to make a difference in a child’s life. As a lawyer for Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), she saw the incredible need for foster parents. “At the time, there were 19,000 kids in foster care, children were sleeping in DCS offices and infants were going to group homes, I had to do something,” said Kathryn.
Although she knew the stories more than most, she admits to being a little naive going into it.
Becoming a Foster Parent
Kathryn’s first placement stayed for 2 months before going to live with her grandparents. Then she got the call for a baby girl named Zoe who was malnourished and classified as failure to thrive. Zoe was in and out of the hospital when she first placed with Kathryn. Her resources home specialist, Rebecca Dominguez, was always helpful and supportive, especially during those early days when Zoe needed extra care.
The goal of foster care is almost always reunification of the child with their biological family. Kathryn suspected that Zoe wouldn’t be going back to her biological parents because of pending criminal charges related to her abuse but the possibility of other family members coming forward was always there.
Due to the tremendous number of kids in foster care at the time, the courts were backed up. It took 17 months for Zoe’s biological parent’s rights to be severed. During those 17 months, Kathryn and Zoe had video calls with her biological parents but no physical contact.
Uncertainty of Foster Care
“The hardest part was the uncertainty. You never know what will happen, the case can take so many turns. If you care for a child the way they deserve to be cared for, you are going to get attached. It’s best for the child,” said Kathryn.
Zoe’s adoption was 3 years ago. Today she is a sweet, energetic, and opinionated little girl. She loves her baby dolls and high energy activities like gymnastics and swimming. Kathryn and Zoe have built a beautiful life together.
Kathryn has advice for people considering becoming foster parents. “Don’t be held back thinking it’s too hard. I was a lawyer, a single parent working full time and fostering a child with significant effects from abuse. You’ll get support, you’ll get childcare. These children deserve loving homes.”
Learn more about becoming a foster parent by contacting us at 602-943-3843.