Iowa KidsNet is in the midst of a campaign to recruit foster and adoptive parents across the state. Regina Johnson of Des Moines is a foster parent who has adopted six kids, and now tries to recruit others. Johnson says they wanted to expand their family after adopting through a private agency,and decided to try through the foster parent process. Johnson says being a foster and then adoptive parent has opened her eyes.
Johnson says there were things that she began to appreciate in her own childhood, as she says we all tend to think we didn’t have a great childhood, but Johnson says she realizes things could have been a lot worse after seeing the backgrounds of some of the foster kids. Johnson says the children are a victim of circumstances. She says the kids didn’t get the kind of nurturing that most of us expect or would think would be the norm.
"The adults in their lives made really bad choices that caused them to have some really rough struggles in life," Johnson says. Johnson says as a foster parent you need the ability to offer unconditional love and not back away from a challenge.
Johnson says a lot of the children don’t know how to return that love, so it can feel like you’re not getting any bang for your buck in what you’re giving out. But she says when you hit points where you see the kids grow and enjoy life, "those rewards are much greater than any struggle you go through in the process." Johnson encourages you to think about being a foster or adoptive parent, and says you will have help.
Johnson says this is not something you enter on your own, as there’s a large support network out there to help. Johnson says you need to make sure that you don’t go into it without your eyes wide open.
For more information, you can call Iowa KidsNet at 1-800-243-0756, or surf to the Iowa KidsNet website .