Sometimes the plans we make for ourselves tend to take routes in the exact opposite direction and we need to trust the process. I’m sure more than one or two of us reading this can relate. Karena had always dreamed of a big traditional family with lots of children, but time passed quickly and one day she realized she had created a career and life of her own. She owned her own home and was a single parent. Fostering had always been something she kept in her mind, but because of her military career and singleness, she hadn’t really given it much more than a thought.
One day though, Karena said the time just felt right and she decided to go for it and wouldn’t you know, things just fell right into place! Since being licensed a year and a half ago through South Carolina MENTOR, Karena has had five children in her home from 3 to 12. Originally signing up for only girls ages 4-9, Karena quickly became more flexible with placements and has now had more boys than girls. She’s also realized that she’s best fitted for elementary aged kids. Being flexible has allowed her to find her groove and her niche and enabled her family to grow.
I think the thing that was most powerful about her story was when she was asked what her favorite part of fostering has been. She quickly replied “I enjoy seeing the kids go back to their biological parents. My motivator in foster care is to temporarily help parents by providing a safe home with structure for their children while they take time to resolve whatever issues they have going on in their lives at that particular time.” This is the essence of foster care, to provide stability and love with the hopes of reunification.
Karena is now retired from the military and is a librarian at a local high school. She clearly loves the season she is in and describes her family as laid back, yet structured with a love of the outdoors, basketball, softball and snacking! When asked what piece of advice she would give or found encouragement in, she shared a simple, yet brilliant quote from Mark Twain that is surely reflective of her own journey- “The key to success is to start.” Thank you Karena, we sure are glad you took the chance and the leap in to the unknown to begin, we wish you and yours much love and success.