Omaha mom Cathy Keck Adcock wrote this guest blog for momaha.
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Four months ago our lives were changed. Possibly forever.
Two little boys — brothers ages 6 and 7 — were placed in our family as part of the foster care system.
With our three biological children — ages 10, 13, and 15 — it has taken some time to establish a “new normal”. There have been times I’ve asked myself what on earth we were doing. But what it always came back to during those tough times was that although we had the option to “quit” – our new little boys had no choice.
Since the boys are wards of the state and aren’t old enough to give me permission to tell you their story I can’t give you lots of details here.
But I can tell you a few things about fostering children.
– Many children in foster care don’t get to celebrate their birthdays the same way your kids or my kids do. They may be sitting at a prearranged visitation location waiting in vain for their parent to show up – the parent who insisted they had to spend their birthday together, promised to take them for ice cream, or to Walmart for a gift.
– Many children in foster care don’t have a suitcase. Foster care children in many cases carry their belongings from placement to placement in a large garbage bag.
– They have schedules that would make even the most patient person scream in frustration. Weekly therapy, caseworker visitation, biological parent visitation, sibling visitation, grandparent visitation, guardian ad litem visitation. Hard to fit in being a kid when you are spending so much time in appointments that you have through no fault of your own.
About two months ago we received word that our 8-year-old foster son had been chosen to attend Royal Family Kids Camp – a national organization with local chapters that provides a week long camp experience for foster children at no expense to them, the state, or their foster families.
I say “chosen” because he had been on a waiting list since there are exponentially more children in foster care than there are spots at camp.
At this camp children from foster care get to experience “a little bit of normal”. There is a huge birthday party for everyone where they get to dress up and have cake and balloons and there are presents for all the kids. Including a hand sewn bag to keep their belongings in. They are challenged to look closely at themselves – for how valuable and amazing they are – and that message is reinforced every minute they are there.
Since we have become foster parents I have had many people say, “You guys are amazing, I couldn’t do that.” Or “I can’t foster a child – but how else could I help?” Well, my friends, here is your opportunity.
Each camper experience at Royal Family Kids Camp costs about $250.
On Saturday, June 22, the second annual Happy Camper Run to raise money for children in foster care to attend camp will be taking place out at Zorinsky Park!
The fee to participate in the race — $30 for people ages 13 and older and $15 for children age 12 and younger — goes to support our local camps for kids and teenagers in foster care. There is a 5K for you runners out there and a 1 mile fun walk for the rest of us and for kiddos. After the exercise there is a great family carnival!
Can’t get there? Donations are welcome – just follow the link and make a difference.