Posted May 23, 2023
Did you know that more than 16,000 children are part of Ohio’s foster care system and there are only 7,200 licensed foster families?
One of the 7,200 is Tonya, a foster care parent who has fostered for more than 10 years and has taken care of around 15 children.
Tonya started her journey as a foster parent after her sister and her husband recommended Tonya get her licensing through Catholic Charities.
“I thought Catholic Charities – It was a lot different from other organizations… my understanding was they [Catholic Charities] were the best organization to be with,” Tonya said.
When children are placed in foster homes, it can sometimes be a difficult transition for both the foster home and the child, but in Tonya’s home, she welcomes the children with open arms and treats them like her own.
“The children that come into my home from foster care… they’re foster children but we [Tonya and her family] don’t treat them like foster children we treat them like they’re a part of our family,” Tonya said.
The main goal of foster care is for the child(ren) to eventually be reunified with their parents or family members, but it does not make goodbyes easy.
After caring for a set of siblings, Tonya explains that it was hard to say goodbye, but she knew her job was done.
“I just cried and cried and cried because I really and truly loved those girls. I loved them with all my soul,” Tonya said, “...It’s a hurtful type of feeling, but on the other hand, they’re being reunified, and that’s the main project is to be reunified.”
Although the goal is for reunification, sometimes it does not happen.
Tonya explains how challenging it is when children are not going back to their families but looks up to God for his guidance.
“With God’s help, the knowing and wearing of God it’s the most positive thing,” Tonya said.
For those who are interested in becoming a foster parent, it is important to do your research and to keep an open heart.
“Do your homework on whichever agency you decide to go with and make sure you have a spot in your heart. You can’t do this and not have places in your heart for different children,” Tonya said.
Interested in learning more about Catholic Charities Foster Care Program or becoming a foster parent? Click the button below!