From empty nest to full house
“I don’t want to get attached.” The phrase is uttered too many times as a reason to not do foster care.
But for Daryl and Sandra Wright that is exactly why they are foster parents. They want to get attached.
“As we pretty much do what a parent would do, we just get attached. And the thing is that’s why we keep doing it,” Daryl said. “They’re victims. It’s not their fault they’re in foster care. You just have to give them the love and the support that they really need. Every kid needs an environment where they have somebody that loves and cares for them and just wants to do that. So yes, we grew attached to doing foster care.”
Providing foster children with love and support
In the last five years, Daryl and Sandra have fostered more than 25 children, and no matter the reason for why the children were placed in foster care, Daryl and Sandra made sure to provide them with nothing but love and support.
“My favorite thing is getting to know them,” Sandra said. “You know, making them laugh and treating them like a regular family, whether that’s us doing housework or playing games.”
With grown biological children, Daryl and Sandra ought to be empty nesters, inching ever closer to that retired life. Instead, they’re dedicated to helping children. So much so, they decided last year to move to a home on the Buckner Children’s campus so they could have the space to have more foster children at one time.
“I always like to see a child leave better than the way they came in,” Sandra said. “I want them to leave with some life skills.”
“It’s one of my favorite things just knowing that they have learned something and remembered something you’ve told them,” Daryl added.
In a foster home, children can feel safe and involved in day-to day family life
Daryl and Sandra’s servant spirit and genuine care for children is evident when you see them interact with the children placed in their care. Whether they are there for a few months or much longer, the Wrights make a point to connect with each child.
They sit down with the younger ones and read books. They genuinely talk to the teenagers about their day at school or their field trips. They dance with the kids, play basketball, help with their homework and do chores together.
And probably most importantly, they laugh.
“I like to be the fun foster parent,” Sandra proudly admits.
A favorite pastime is circling around the table playing games, talking, joking, laughing. One of their favorite games is called Chicken Foot – a type of domino game. But other times, they’ll play card games their teenage foster children teach them. Sometimes, Daryl suspects they play with made up rules that benefit the kids, but they just shrug, laugh and go along with it.
Being a foster parent takes patience and understanding, but it's rewarding
“[Foster care] is rewarding,” Sandra said. “But it’s also a lot of work at times. Don’t get me wrong. You get frustrated some days and want to throw in the towel because you want to reach a certain child, every child, but you can’t reach every child the same way. You have to be creative and kind of try to think what you can do to try and redirect.”
It also takes patience and understanding. Sandra said once, she was upset at a child who never remembered to flush the toilet. She felt the Lord lay on her heart that maybe the child grew up without running water. She asked the case manager about it and discovered the child did live in a home where the utilities were turned off. It was this experience that taught her each child comes into foster care with a different story.
“They come from a completely different home than yours,” Daryl said. “You have complete structure, but they have no structure. So you know, you just keep praying that whatever it is you’ve taught them, that they learn it, and that it will stick with them.”
Foster care is a calling
How much longer will Daryl and Sandra be foster parents? They say they don’t know. They’re here until God tells them to do something different.
“You always have something that pops up and makes you keep going. A kid will give you a push to keep going. You just never know,” Daryl said. “That’s why I say it’s a calling. You can do it for as long as you’re here on Earth.”
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