Household reshaped by foster care

What I learned from my expanding family

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Household reshaped by foster care

Emma Yarger

My family is more “modern” than the one you will find on the tv show. We are a foster home. This means that we have taken in kids ranging from a week old baby with no siblings, to a toddler and his baby brother.

Right now we are housing a set of six year old twins, their five year old brother and their 10 week old brother. My house is currently littered with small clothes, toys, and math homework spilling out of backpacks. Its chaotic to say the least.

My family does foster care through Hennepin County. We want to foster and hopefully adopt the children we care for. The first few foster children we hosted were fortunately able to return to their families. We have no idea what the future holds for the kids we are hosting now. All my family can do is give them love and care.

Biologically I am the youngest in my family but I love having younger siblings. I enjoy helping my little sister with her hair and helping them all with their homework. They will be with us for the holidays and they are sure to make Christmas morning more energetic than it’s been the past few years.

Now that I am an older sibling I have to remember to be patient and lead by example which isn’t something I’ve ever had to do before. This added responsibility presents challenges but it gives me pride to be looked up to.

The kids we are hosting can be so sweet. We eat dinners together and play games with one another. Sometimes they beg me to read them a bedtime story. One moment they will tell us they love us but the next they will be throwing a tantrum because they need to brush their teeth.

Understanding that these kids were in a different situation before they came to my family is one of the most challenging parts of our job. Showing them love and kindness despite their past is something I continue to learn to do. I must remember that a tantrum or certain behavior has nothing to do with me but something else entirely.

It can be frustrating at times but it feels so rewarding to know that these kids are in a safe environment where they can grow and have fun. My moms do such a wonderful job and I am thankful that we are able to provide for these kids.

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