May is National Foster Care Month, so we are spotlighting one of Lehman’s employees who has been a foster parent for several years. Kerby, who is the Warehouse Manager at Lehman’s, shared with us his family’s experience of fostering children.
How did you and your wife meet and how long have you been married?
We actually met while I was working at the local service station right out of high school and Julie was a junior. Our first date was a school banquet. We dated 10 years and got married in August 1998.
What made you decide to become foster parents?
I just knew there was a need for foster parents and checked out several agencies and decided to go with Stark County Department. of Job and Family Services.
How many children have you fostered and what is the age range?
We have fostered just over 100 children, mostly 5 and under, although we had several older, including teenagers.
What type of training did you have to complete?
Initially, it was around 80 hours to get certified and 20 hours per year to maintain our license.
How is fostering different than respite care?
With respite care, it is giving another caregiver a break, or helping them out for a short, predetermined amount of time. With fostering, it is taking someone in until they are reunified, adopted, or moved. This could be for a day or two, but often lasts 6 months to a couple years.
What are some of your favorite fostering memories?
Seeing kids grow and learn. Watching them come out of their shells and express themselves.
What is the most difficult part of being foster parents?
Seeing kids go back to situations that were not the best for them, knowing we may never see them again.
What advice do you have for others thinking about fostering?
It is definitely a calling and not for everyone. Find yourself a support system of others who are also fostering/adopting. Be willing to adapt to major changes on a moment’s notice.
Want to learn more about foster care? Visit childwelfare.gov
“Seeing kids go back to situations not best for them.” How about being misjudged. Our daughter had a drug problem. Our grandson was taken away at birth by the system. We never got to hold our grandson. The system in a state where our daughter was threw our grandson into the foster care system without calling us even though we were listed as next of kin as an emergency contact during our daughter’s birth. We are retired military, served for twenty two years. Not even a traffic ticket on our record, but we were treated as if we’d done something wrong and was treated as though we were the enemy. IT TOOK US TEN MONTHS to get our grandson, and when asked how we wanted the foster family to contact us we told them by email, but the stupid worker also provided them with our home address where foster Mom thought she could oblige in sending mail, which we turned away. The foster family where our grandson was was most likely trying to adopt him out from underneath us, our first grandchild. I understand there are some low life’s out there, but the way my spouse and I were treated is unforgivable. Our daughter is an adult and we were not the cause of her drug addiction. She was raised in a Christian home with loving parents. Yet, despite our pain of having a child addicted to drugs to begin with we were also spat on by the system. One should be careful of one’s judgments.