Several years ago, Claudia Orange and her husband Rudy bought a four bedroom home. The Rancho Cucamonga, California couple was unable to have children, and the place felt too big. Claudia began to think about becoming a resource parent (formerly known as a foster parent). “Something was missing in my life,” she said.
Rudy, however, was cool on the concept. He worried that bringing a child into their world would intrude on his personal time and their marriage. Then the couple became friends with a woman who was raising six children in foster care. She introduced the Oranges to several other foster families. When Rudy saw how happy the families were, he decided to give Claudia’s idea a try.
The couple attended training and became licensed resource parents through Hillsides’ affiliate, Bienvenidos. Bienvenidos placed an infant girl, Victoria,* in their home. At 16 months old, she was developmentally seven months behind, unable to walk or talk. After a trial placement of one week, the social worker asked if the Oranges wanted to keep Victoria longer term. Their answer: an emphatic yes. “We were already in love with her,” said Rudy.
Under the care of the couple, today, a year later, Victoria has met all her developmental markers. “She is so smart,” said Rudy. “She knows her colors, her shapes, and can name almost anything.”
While Rudy was worried a child in the home would take away from his marriage, the opposite has happened. “It added to what we had,” he said. “The love between us, and now for Victoria, is amazing.”
As for Claudia, Victoria was her motivation and strength when she suffered from a recurrence of breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. “Anahi kept me going,” she said.
The Orange family is one of 96 resource families opening their hearts and homes up to children in foster care through our Bienvenidos foster care and adoption program. Bienvenidos has the capacity to place 233 children in loving homes.
However, there are many more children who need resource families. Every week, Bienvendios averages 145 calls and emails a week of children pending placement. Some are sibling sets of up to six sisters and brothers.
In order to raise awareness of the need for more resource families, this month, in conjunction with Foster Care Awareness Month, we are launching an “In Search of Happily Ever After” campaign to recruit more resource families.
Hillsides is asking our community directly, would you consider becoming a resource parent? We do not discriminate based on marital status, race, creed, or sexual orientation, but there are a few requirements:
- You be at least 21 years of age;
- Your home has at least one bedroom available for children to be placed;
- Your income should be adequate to handle your current living status without relying on the financial assistance that will be given to you to care for the children;
- You must pass a criminal background check;
- With our guidance, your home must meet state safety regulations;
- You are willing to attend pre-approval as well as post-approval trainings to help you understand and be equipped to work with the various issues that may arise when children are removed from their homes;
- Most importantly, you must be willing and able to be part of a professional team whose goal it is to help heal the child and guide him/her towards permanency, whether it means reuniting with parents or family or by perhaps considering making your home his/her forever home.
Maybe, like Rudy Orange, the idea at first sounds intimidating. However, as the story of the Orange family ultimately reveals, becoming a resource family can be the best decision you ever make. To learn more, please watch this video. If you are willing to take a step into the unknown, but one that can bring you happiness, love, and purpose, please contact 800-828-5683 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://bienvenidos.org/content/interest-form.
- Name changed for privacy reasons.