If there was one message that Kim’s story of resource parenting conveyed, it would be that not every foster youth placement is going to look exactly the same or go exactly as planned. And that is ok, she says.
The parent of two (currently) says that helping hard-to-place youth for short periods of time is typically her “sweet spot.”
“It’s just me in the home and I work, so I have to consider these factors,” she says.
The Modesto/Ceres resident works with youth in foster care as part of her job, but “never really thought of fostering” herself until a few years ago.
“There’s always that one kid that gets your attention,” she says.
For Kim, the first child that spoke to her was an 18-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder living in a group home. She took him in and cared for him until she felt she was no longer qualified to do so.
“What I can handle is not what someone else can handle. It’s hard to accept at first,” she says, “but you have to know your limitations. It’s ok to have limitations and know how you work best to help these kids.”
She currently has two boys and makes it a priority to take them on little trips throughout the year because, “there’s so much they haven’t seen in the world.” One of her kids had never even been on an airplane before.
But now, their photo albums are filled with pictures of far away and not-so-far-away places and they feel excitement and pride about the travel they’ve experienced—and the food they have tried.
She was united with her second foster son about three years ago after working with the youth and placing him with a stable family.
“But three months later,” she says, “I got a call from a county social worker and she’s like ‘he’s asking to live with you.’”
From both her personal and professional experience, she says that “sometimes it’s not a fit and it’s nothing against the parent, the home or the child.”
And sometimes it is a fit. Kim now has guardianship of the young man and says, “I was proud of him before he came to my home and he continues to do good things. He graduated high school at 16 and was already enrolled in college classes and had a plan. He’s still in school and in a transitional housing program—he’s the most independent one they’ve had.”
But every situation and every child are different, she says. “There are times you wish you could help the kids more, but they have to be ready, too. And that can be heartbreaking when the timing is off.”
Kim has this advice for future parents: “Ask a lot of questions. Push for all of the information you can get. The more you know, the more success you will have.”
“I have a rule on these trips,” Kim says. “I tell them they can’t eat somewhere they can eat at home … because I want them to experience as many new things as they can.”