Foster families needed for local foster children - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Foster families needed for local foster children

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Not all children in the foster care system are looking to be adopted. The goal for many of them is reunification with their birth family. However during that process, these kids need loving foster families to give them some stability.

May is National Foster Care Month and one local foster family shares their experiences and talks about how fostering has enriched their lives.

Six-year-old Gemma says she shares her parents with her foster siblings and doesn't mind at all:

"I like them, I like playing with them."

Her four-year-old sister Gillian feels the same way about the girls they call their special sisters"

"I love them very much."

Their parents Chris and Gretchen first became foster parents about a decade ago - long before these girls were born and over the years they have fostered nearly a dozen children.

"We saw the need. I had started out as a volunteer with the Big Sister League and my Little Sister ended up in foster care and so at that point, we decided we wanted to be foster parents so we could take her in," said Gretchen.

After that child was reunited with her family, Chris and Gretchen continued to foster.

"There's something special about being able to provide a good loving home for these girls," added Chris.

Gemma is the couple's biological daughter and Gillian is adopted, but the couple initially took in Gillian only to foster her.

"Our goal is to provide whatever the kid needs at that moment in time and when we did take Gillian it was as foster and the goal was for reunification," continued Gretchen.

When plans to return to Gillian to her biological parents failed, Chris and Gretchen adopted her, while still keeping their home open for other foster children in need.

And with no family in San Diego, Chris and Gretchen are thankful for their support network.

"We are both employed by the County of San Diego and we are very grateful to our employer to have the benefits we have," explained Gretchen. "As well as we have a wonderful daycare provider, before and after school care provider, who helps make it possible for us to do what we do for these kids."

They currently have three foster children in their home ages 13, seven and five and have had as many as six foster kids at once.

"It's a very rewarding experience. It warms your heart to take the kids in and to be able to offer them stability and what I think are very good parental role models and family role models, sisters to play with, activities to participate in," said Gretchen. "So they have that stability and they have that positive influence, even if it is for a short time, they do take it with them. We hear back from them and they take it with them."

It's a positive experience for Gemma and Gillian too - growing up in a home filled with kindness and compassion.

"Our girls are very good at sharing. They understand that for a time, these children need parents and they're very open to sharing their parents, and they definitely get benefits from it as well," continued Gretchen. "They get the big sisters and the little sisters they didn't have."

San Diego County reports says there is a big need for foster families that are open to taking in older children, medically fragile children and sibling groups.

I you are interested in becoming a foster family, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U during regular business hours.

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