Options for Recovery Foster Care Program - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Options for Recovery Foster Care Program

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Babies in the foster care system, who are born drug-addicted or test positive for HIV require specialized care.

There is a great need for foster families who can take these children in and provide them with a safe, loving home. To help in the process, the county offers specialized training for these families through its Options for Recovery Foster Care Program.

Amanda and Peter, who have two biological children, six-year-old Caleb and four-year-old Charlotte, became foster parents about a year ago and the kids they are licensed to care for are all medically fragile:

“She had a stroke in the NICU, she has paresis on her left side and so she's diagnosed as cerebral palsy, but she's had a lot of therapy and she's doing really, really well,” said Amanda.

Her big brother, who also lives with this family, is two-years-old. He was born premature and with complications, but with a stable home environment has beaten all odds.

“So he is on a ventilator while he sleeps. He has a trach and a feeding tube, but he also is a pretty typical two-year-old boy who loves to run around and kick balls and loves Elmo,” continued Amanda.

Amanda and Peter learned how to provide the care these kids need through San Diego County Adoptions Options for Recovery Foster Home Licensing Program, which is a 40 hour course that includes training from doctors, nurses and physical therapists.

“It's five days of 8 hour classes at Rady Children’s Hospital. It's training for drug exposed and HIV positive children,” Amanda explained.

And the inspiration to provide this type of specialized car was their own little girl.

“Our biological daughter was born at 23 weeks and so she has a myriad of medical complications from that,” noted Amanda.

They realized that finding foster families for children like Charlotte is a challenge.

“People get scared by a list of diagnosis and they forget that there's a kid underneath all of that,” Amanda added.

So the couple decided to take their foster care training to the next level.

“Because if it was our daughter in the system, we would want somebody who was willing and able to do that for her,” said Amanda.

“Taking care of the kids in some ways is no different. They still don't want to go to bed at night, they still don't want to eat their food, these things are just parental things. There's a couple extra pieces, a medication to give, a doctor's appointment to go to, but it's not that much harder than a normal kid,” said Peter.

Peter, who is a Navy doctor training to be a pediatrician, says you certainly don't need a medical background. The county's Options for Recovery Program provides ongoing resources and support.

“I'm the only doctor in the group and so it's not like it's a bunch of doctors getting together adopting unhealthy kids so these kids are,” explained Peter. “It's mostly people from all different walks and there's lots of support groups, there's lots of monthly meetings. So it's not something you need to come in and think that I can't do this because I don't have a medical background. Nobody else there has a medical background either, it just happens to be that I do.”

Fostering has been so successful for this family, they are open to becoming a forever family for this little girl and her brother.

“We're hoping that we can move forward and if it works out for adoption then we would be our dream,” Amanda added.

If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.

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