The decision to foster for me was an easy one. It was never a question of whether I wanted to, only when to start. You see, I was in the system a few times during my childhood. My mom abandoned my three sisters, father and I, when I was only 10 years old. My youngest sister was just under a year old and I was her primary caretaker.
We were left behind with an alcoholic father, who was either angry or just not around. We suffered neglect and abuse. I have memories of hiding under the bed when he was having fits of rage, trying to protect my sisters and myself from him. He was in and out of alcohol treatment centers and each time we would be placed in foster care, separated from one another. Sunday mornings we would get to see each other at church. It was the good-hearted members of our church who took us in each time my father failed. Church has always had a very special place in my heart as well as fostering.
Once licensed, our primary goal was to foster siblings. Drawing from my own experiences and knowing how scared I was, unaware of where my sisters were, if they were being well cared for, lonely, safe, etc. Our family has fostered over a dozen children in the past three years. Some have come and gone quickly while others have stayed much longer.
We have been blessed to have been licensed by two Christian foster agencies. 4KIDS of South Florida, when we lived in Florida and Lilyfield, here in Edmond, Oklahoma. Having a great support system behind us has been instrumental in our success. A good fostering agency should check in with you weekly and always be available with someone on-call 24/7 in case any issues arise.
“Eventually children leave to be reunified with their families or to be adopted into a forever family. Even though those transitions can be hard, knowing that we are planting seeds of love, hope, security and faith makes it all worth it. We feel called to serve our community this way. I would rather suffer some personal grief and loss then allow any child to go through theirs alone.” – Patricia Biondo, Lilyfield Foster Mom
More about Lilyfield
Lilyfield is a non-profit organization in Oklahoma, which is focused on providing healthy families for at-risk children and youth. Our programs serve individuals and families impacted by adoption and foster care, as well as those at risk of involvement with the foster care system. We have five program areas: adoption, foster care, youth independent living, family strengthening and child abuse prevention, and specialized counseling for families impacted by adoption, foster care or trauma. Lilyfield’s long term vision is to ensure that children in our community have safe and healthy homes where they can be nurtured and grow to their full potential.
If fostering feels right to you and you’d like to get more information on how to get started, we encourage you to contact Lilyfield today!