Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sandra Ferguson: Foster and Adoptive Parent

National Foster Month
Lee, Karen. News 10 Now, May 25, 2009.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Sandra Ferguson first became interested in foster parenting about seven years ago. She disapproved of how some foster children she knew were being treated, so she signed up to do it herself.

"I always wanted a big family but I didn't want to have a big family. So this was my way of giving back to the community," Ferguson said.

She's since fostered six children and is currently in the process of adopting the last two. They've been living with her and her two biological children for the last few years.

"There is no difference. She provides them with every opportunity that she does with her own biological children and she has done a great deal by opening up her home to these teenage, more difficult kids that a lot of people are scared to take," said Jean Galle, Hillside Foster Care Manager.

Ferguson admits that raising older children has been a challenge as they tend to be more guarded. But with the combination of patience and love, she says they will open up. Ferguson witnessed that this past Mother’s Day through a text message.

There's said to be no comparison to the bond that's felt between a parent and child. And it doesn't matter if that relationship began in the womb or later on in life. May is National Foster Care Month and our Karen Lee visited the Hillside Children's Center in Syracuse and spoke with one foster mother who is encouraging others to take on the challenge.

"He says thank you for being my mom and almost brought me to tears at work but that lets me know that I must be doing something right," Ferguson said.

Foster care agencies like the Hillside Children's Center are looking for more people like Ferguson. For those who can't be a full-time mom and dad, there are other options.

"They may only take a child on the weekend or an as need basis. So they may have not have the time or the ability to take on a child full-time but they can become a supportive resource for a child in that way," Galle said.

"These kids just need to know what love is. That there's people that care about them, that care more about them waking up and going to sleep, that really actually care about their well-being and wanting them to succeed in life," Ferguson said.

If you would like more information on becoming a foster parent, contact the Hillside Children's Center at (315) 423-5112.

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