Imagine being a child and finding out you are gaining a foster sibling. You are excited, nervous, and full of pure joy. Also, imagine knowing that your new sibling may return to their birth family at any time. Then, imagine an experience so rewarding it is well worth any range of emotions. This is the experience that parents and their children willingly and enthusiastically accept when they become foster families.
In foster care, children are temporarily cared for until they can be returned to their families. Becoming a foster family is a rewarding and enriching experience done again and again by many of our friends and neighbors. For John & Donna Camardo of Williamsville, their daughter, Aurora, 13, and son, Aidan, 9, their strong faith brought them to choose the emotional yet incredible journey that is foster care.
Donna explains the experience as “a whirlwind of change and emotions” for her family. When considering whether or not to foster, she recalled the Bible as it asks Christians to care for the defenseless and those in need. Donna and her husband spoke with their children about the possibility of opening their home to other children in need. They each prayed about it, and then came to the conclusion that foster care was in their hearts.
Soon thereafter, the Camardos welcomed two foster daughters, ages 4 and 8, into their hearts and home. The two young girls spent a little over 1 year with the Camardos.
“We knew we were providing care that they needed to bring them to a place of stability and healing,” John said. “And our children are learning a lesson that can’t be taught any other way.”
However, in what seemed as quickly as they arrived, the two young girls left the Camardo’s home, leaving a void in their hearts as well.
Although they were sad to see their foster siblings move on to the next chapter of their lives, Donna credits foster care with strengthening the bond between her children. She knows her children’s hearts are committed because they are still excited to meet their next foster sibling. “They know full well the loss they can experience, yet they still want to do it.”
“Foster care gives us the opportunity to help more children over time, to reunite families, and heal children,” John explains. With the memories they’ve made and the impact they’ve had on their foster siblings, the emotional experience is worth the invaluable lessons they’ve learned.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about foster parenting, please call or email Kara, Gateway-Longview Supervisor of Recruitment & Homefinding, at (716) 783-2909 or KMarong@gateway-longview.org.
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