Foster parents find strength

Kari and her husband, Andy, have been foster parents to seven children through the Wenatchee Family Resource Center’s Therapeutic Foster Care program. The program provides temporary, nurturing care to children who cannot remain in the home with their birth parents.

In 2013, more than 10,000 children were in foster care in Washington state. CHSW receives state funding for the Therapeutic Foster Care program, but relies on private support to cover the full cost of care of each child.

Being a licensed foster care parent through CHSW meant that Kari and Andy benefited from the expertise and support of staff who were available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “CHSW would come at the drop of the hat if we were having challenges,” Kari said.

As first time foster parents, they took care of five-year-old twins for 18 months. On the eve of the twins’ seventh birthday, Kari and her family were told that the children were going to be placed elsewhere. Her family had a tough time with the news.

“CHSW staff helped us break the news to the kids, cried with us, called their friends’ parents to cancel their birthday party, helped us pack them up, cried with us some more, and shared our grief,” Kari said.

To help move on from the experience, Kari and Andy decided to provide respite care, where they would watch foster children for a short period of time to help support other foster parents. 

After some time, CHSW eventually asked if they would be willing to be foster parents to three siblings. Even though the placement was not permanent for two of the children, Kari and Andy were able to adopt the seven-year-old girl. Currently, they are also foster parents to two children, a 17-year-old and 19-month-old baby. 

Through all the joys and challenges, CHSW has been with Kari and her family during the course of their journey. “CHSW are real people that know us, love us, thank us and tell us they admire us,” Kari said. "We admire them as much or more. Many thanks to Kris Collier and Anne Crain, specifically!"