SAN DIEGO — In honor of National Foster Care Month, San Diego County is honoring foster and adoptive resource families for their tireless work in fostering youth.
We would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Quality Parenting Achievement Award. This year’s awards are being presented throughout the month of May during several 2021 QPI Resource Parent Virtual Appreciation events. The honorees who have been named Foster and Adoptive Resource Parents of the Year are being celebrated as true unsung heroes.
What is a Resource Parent?
“Resource is anybody that can be wrapped around that youth at any time of their lives,” explained Valesha Bullock, Assistant Director For Health and Human Services, Child Welfare Services.
In honor of National Foster Care Month, San Diego County is recognizing foster and adoptive resource parents for going above and beyond over the past year.
"I praise all of our resource parents in general, but exceptionally more this year because of COVID, it really added another whole layer of that parenting component," said Bullock.
Jill and her fiancé have six daughters and three sons between the two of them, in addition to the foster children they take in, providing a safe place for them to stay.
She said fostering is a family affair.
"I think it's a ministry," Jill said. "It has to be a calling because it is hard. especially when you are helping preserve families and communicating with biological parents."
Jill said she tries to comfort the foster youth's biological family as much as she can.
"That first phone call with mom after a child has been placed with me -- I really use that as an opportunity to ask mom. What does she want me to do for her child? How can I keep some sense of normalcy? How do you want me to feed your child? How do you want me to vaccinate your child? How do you want me to do bedtime and bath time?," Jill explained, adding, "I want the parents, if they are involved, to know that I respect their perspective on things."
Being in foster care, is traumatic for both children and their biological parents. Resource parents, help provide a critical need and say it's an emotional journey that is as challenging as it is rewarding.
With three biological children of her own, Miss B, as she's affectionately called by her foster children, went through the process of becoming a resource parent to help a specific family, but by the time she was approved, those children had already been placed in another stable home. Her journey, however, didn't end there.
"When the social worker called me, she said, 'Well that doesn't mean you can't foster other kids, they don't have to be relatives,'" Miss B reflected.
Two and a half years later, she's made a huge impact on so many lives, having fostered 10 kids so far.
Miss B said a hug is sometimes all a child needs to help them cope with the instability and uncertainty in their lives. "It's crazy how a hug can help them so much, just a simple hug," she said.
Each resource parent has a different motivation for helping change the life of a foster child.
For Andrea and Dave, who have been married for a decade, it was their desire to have a parental role in a child's life that led them to fostering.
"We had tried to have children of our own and had not been successful and we were really thinking, 'what do we want to do?,' and we really just wanted to parent," Andrea explained.
The couple is currently fostering three siblings.
"It's been beautiful. It's been emotional. It's been challenging," Dave reflected, adding, "I I think we've been really fortunate in the relationships we've been able to develop with the children, with their biological family."
He said they both feel really blessed and honored to be able to be a part of the children's lives.
None of the honorees expected the recognition of being named Resource Parents of the Year.
"You just kind of do your day to day, and that's just what life is, and it's beautiful and it's crazy," said Andrea. "To get recognition it also made me think, 'Gosh, there's probably so many more people that are also extremely deserving of this recognition, so I just feel really humbly grateful."
She said it's also affirming that their work is being noticed.
San Diego County said, especially after this challenging year, the honor is so well deserved.
To learn more about becoming a Foster or Adoptive Resource Family with the County of San Diego, click here.