Trena and Kevin have been foster care parents since 2014.
Tell us a little bit about your family?
We officially became a family of five on Sept. 20, 2017. Kevin and I have 3 beautiful children, Alexander, 5, Savannah, 4, and Harper, 2.
What made your family decide to become a Clermont County foster home?
When we started this journey we were honestly afraid of birth parents and running into them at the store or in our neighborhood. So we decided that even though we lived in Hamilton County we would drive to Clermont to avoid the possibility. A friend who was fostering in Clermont recommended Clermont to us.
Tell us a little bit about your journey with placements.
We have had three sibling sets come through our home, all in the 0-3 year-old range. Our first sibling set went back to live with their father. We kept in touch with these children after reunification until the father passed away. The children went back into care and we had to say no to the placement because we already had three children under the age of 3 in our care. This was honestly harder — to say no that time — than losing them the first time.
Our second set of siblings were a brother and sister, 16 months and 2 years old. They had already been in three different foster homes in three months. They were a sibling group of four that was split up as one family took in the older two but could not take the younger two. They have been with us ever since and they became official members of our family last September.
We call our next placement a sign from God. We literally were sitting in church, at the funeral of Kevin’s nephew who had died of a heroin overdose, when we got the call for a 5-day-old addicted little girl. When this child was almost 2 and still in our care, her parents had another child, a boy, that we also took in. This put us in a very unique situation. The girl was on the path of TPR (termination of parental rights) while the boy was still on a case plan. We adopted the girl and at 19 months old the boy just went back to his birth mom, who is doing amazing. We have made plans to continue the kids’ relationship.
What advice would you give to new families becoming certified to foster/adopt?
Don’t let your feelings or emotions overshadow what is best for the child. Yes, you can probably provide a better life for the child, but they are still their parents’ child. Put yourself in the parents’ shoes. Show kindness and reassure their parents by sending them notes on their child’s progress each week. You are a stranger who has their child. How would you feel?
What is something you wish you had known prior to deciding to become a foster home?
Don’t be afraid of birth parents or even extended relatives. We have ended up in multiple situations where we have been able to continue our relationships with the children through the birth parents. We have also made lifelong friends with some of the parents who have adopted our children’s siblings. One of our adopted children regularly spends weekends with her birth grandmother whom she adores.