Stories

Foster Parents Help Make a Difference

August 6, 2016

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Becoming foster parents is not something a lot of Latinos have in mind, but a couple from South County decided to look into it, and now, they have been foster parents of a two-year-old named Jay  for almost a year.

“I know fostering is probably not for everyone, but there are so many kids that can benefit from it,” said Ivonne Garcia, a Chula Vista resident. “Even if it’s just a temporary situation, it can make a difference in a kid’s life.”

Currently, there are 3,500 children in San Diego County foster care system, of which 1,400 are under the age of five.

For Garcia and her husband Junior, fostering was not their first option. But after having problems with conceiving, they started investigating about foster parenting.

“My husband and I got together when we were around 18 and 19 years old and we have been living together for 11 years,” said Garcia in an intimate interview with La Prensa San Diego. “We tried to conceive but I couldn’t get pregnant, and when I did, I had miscarriages. We didn’t try in vitro fertilization. We got treatment from  a doctor, but then I had miscarriages. We went through a lot.”

Garcia had already been thinking of adopting a child because she has an adopted sibling.

“My parents adopted my younger brother and he is one of my closest persons in my life,” said Garcia. “So even when I was younger, I always wanted to do something like that.”

Garcia mentioned that she started researching foster parenting, and although she found all the information straight forward from the County Department of Child Welfare, it was an agency called Angels Foster Family Network that help her through the process.

“I liked the idea of fostering because there are already so many children who are in the need of a good home and good people in their lives,” said Garcia. “I always wanted to do something like [foster parenting]; although my husband was a little bit nervous at the beginning,” said Garcia.

Garcia first went alone to an orientation, and a few months later convinced her husband to attend another orientation. They both liked it and got on board to becoming foster parents.

“We went to an orientation, and he was really impressed. It was a really a positive thing so he was ready to do it,” said Garcia. “We signed up, and the rest is history after that.”

When the couple was close to ending their certification process to become foster parents, they received a call that there was a two-year-old in need of a loving home.

“When we were near the end of our certification, we got our first placement. There is a shortage of foster parents in the South Bay area, specially from Latinos,” added Garcia.

At the beginning of their fostering, there were some adjustment problems: little Jay was withdrawn and had some outbursts, said Garcia. The couple was able to get help from the fostering agency and now, those problems are gone.

“People can apply to be a foster parent through the county, but ‘Angels’ is an agency that gives you additional support,” said Garcia. “We have a case manager at all times and you can have continuous access during business hours or after hours.”

To learn more about fostering a child or how to support foster children, please visit www.angelsfoster.org.

 

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