Prospective foster parents often wonder how they are going to handle the ups and downs of fostering. What if the children exhibit challenging behavior? What types of discipline are acceptable? And what are some ways to cope with the stress of caring for children who have been abused or neglected?
Every hard moment has lead us to what we enjoy now.
In almost every case, Utah Foster Care (UFC) and each family’s DCFS Resource Family Consultant (RFC) can help with solutions to these dilemmas through training and support. The UFC Education Department is proud to offer both preparatory classes and ongoing training that are focused specifically on caring for traumatized children. That training helps families persevere and not give up on children during hard times. We wanted to share one family’s story about such perseverance:
After attending one of UFC’s Ask a Foster Parent Night in their community, Dustin Rich told his wife Megan that they had to do something to help, and they enrolled in training classes right away. As the parents of two biological sons, they have gone from a family of four to a family of eight, fostering and adopting children from three different families.
“Their first placements were two very difficult kids and they originally thought about having them moved. But they just got busy and learned and did whatever they could to help them,” says Boni Seals, the RFC for Carbon and Emery Counties. “They didn’t want these kids to be moved from home to home. It was a tough time for their family, but it has paid off for them. I can’t tell you what a difference this has made for these kids.”
Megan says for her and Dustin, it was a team effort.
“He’s always able to keep a level head and remember back to our training and bring that to our parenting,” she says. “We made a promise that we would not ask for a child to be removed from our home, but with our first two, that promise was really put to the test. But we really pulled together and it has been worth it. Every sad moment, every hard moment has lead us to what we enjoy now.”
“He is the hardest worker I’ve ever met,” said Megan. “He puts anyone before himself. He is a super unselfish person, who would do anything for anybody. If we have any extra, he wants to give it. He is a great man.”
In fact, Dustin was honored in June as the 2017 Foster Dad of the Year for Eastern Region.
When asked about their fostering experience, Megan shared, “It has worked out perfectly for what our family needed. It’s different for everyone, and no two kids are the same, but it can only enrich your life.”