The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 53

coming to live with the Kormanns two years ago and
says foster care helped him " do better and stay out of
trouble " by providing a change of environment and
influences. It gave him a chance to better his life and
being part of the Fostering Futures program will help
him be more independent.
Fostering Futures is a voluntary program that
provides youth with services and financial support
until the age of 21. The program helps the youth with
housing (staying with their foster parents, room and
board for school or independent living program), as
well as education and job training.
With her daughter grown and gone, Regina
Robertson of Rocky Mount had an empty nest, an
empty bed and a caring heart. She knew there were
children that needed a place to stay and someone to
care for them. Her sister, a foster parent, recommended
Robertson become one. Since 2012, she has cared for
over 50 children between 10 and 18 years of age for
up to two years.
Currently, Logan, 17, has been with her over a year.
He works part-time at Walmart and was recently
promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in ROTC.

Could fostering be for you? Foster parents:
" If you have an empty bed, room in your
heart for love, there are children out
there that need both. Don't just think
about small children; teenagers need
love, too. It's fulfilling and you'll always
feel needed. " - Roberta Robertson,
foster parent to over 50 children

*	
*	
*	
*	
*	

Do you have extra room in
your home and heart?
Foster parents play a special role
in our communities. They provide
a safe, nurturing home to children
whose biological families need help in
various areas like parenting, substance
abuse, domestic abuse, mental health
and poverty. Foster families are part
of a system designed to strengthen
families and offer better futures for
children which in turn, builds up our
communities.
To become a foster parent, begin
by looking at the DSS website for
requirements. Talk to people who have
been foster parents through various
agencies and to agency representatives
to determine which might be the best fit
for your family.

TheRoanoker.com

Can be married, single, widowed
or divorced
Must be over 21 years old
Have stable income/finances
Pass background checks: criminal
history, child protective services
and driving record
Meet certain physical
requirements

To be approved, you will be required to
attend trainings, have home visits and
fill out paperwork including preferences
about age, gender, race/ethnicity and
behaviors.
After approval (which can take 90
days or more), the agency will match
placements and provide assistance as
needed. Many agencies offer ongoing
training and support groups and arrange
respite care. Respite foster care parents
provide short-term (a day, weekend or
week) care to give foster parents time
to go to a wedding, get away or have a
short break.
Mateja Kormann says, " My advice to
anyone looking into fostering is pray,
lean on God's understanding and don't
hold back. Put your all into every kiddo
that walks through your door. They need
your love more than you need to feel
guarded. " -LW

" Most of my children either went home or left at
18. I've had a couple go to other homes and a few
placed in residential homes, " says Robertson. " Helping
children and teaching them has been rewarding. Some
have reached out years later to thank me for all I did
for them. While some of their behaviors were difficult,
the most difficult part was when they left my home.
I've cried after each child left. "
Joni Bradley* fostered over 45 children between
1991 and 2002 when she and her first husband had
children and she wanted to say home while still
" contributing to society. " She and her second husband
were almost 50 with grown children when they
fostered two sets of siblings and ended up adopting
all six children.
" The number one reason is we love children and
want to make a difference, " Bradley says. " It's tough,
but it's rewarding. "
Four of the children they adopted are siblings who
spent several years homeless, living in a van or in parks
with six other siblings and a drug-addicted mom. They
have experienced a lot of trauma; some of them have
reactive detachment disorder, which means they have
a hard time managing their emotions and forming
meaningful connections.
" We can help them overcome the trauma and give
them love and encouragement, but we can't take away
what they've been through. We can only teach them a
different way, " Bradley says.
They are currently fostering a 10-year-old as well
as a six-year-old with autism. When he arrived a year
ago, he didn't talk at all. Now he calls her " Mama J "
and can communicate better.
Foster parents shared that there are challenges
inherent with fostering, such as not knowing all the
children have been through and not knowing the
ultimate outcome. They say rewards include creating
relationships and seeing the children grow in positive
and productive ways, seeing them go from timid to
participating in sports, making friends and improving
in school.
Children often arrive with few possessions and low
self-esteem, with a lot of pain and insecurity. Foster
families care for them, guide them, protect them and
love them and sometimes, adopt them or let them go once
their family is healed enough to welcome them home.
As Kormann says, " We aren't here to take the place
of their biological family. We are here to be a bridge. " I
*Some names have been changed to protect privacy

JULY/AUGUST 2020 53


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The Roanoker - July/August 2020

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The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover1
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The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover4
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