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Heidi N.

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1 reviews

Review for Utah Foster Care Foundation , Murray, UT, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I am honored to share my experiences with the Utah Foster Care Foundation. My husband and I began our journey into foster care over 5 years ago. Our first experience with UFCF was attending our pre-service training to become foster parents. We attended 32 hours of classes where we learned about child welfare teams, Utah Licensing rules, abuse & neglect, the impact of substance abuse on development, grief, attachment and trauma, permanency & adoption, and family cultures. The vast array of topics covered helped prepare us for our experiences with fostering children. Our trainers were well educated, open, and honest about what we would experience. It was such a powerful experience that we felt we because better parents for just having attended.
 Once we were licensed foster parents we were able to participate in continuing education classes. Each month we are afforded the opportunity to attend a myriad of classes on an array of subjects. Because of the diversity of classes there always seemed to be a class designed to cover the challenges we were facing as foster parents.

The Utah Foster Care Foundation's Wishing Well helps normalize the experience for children in care. Our family was excited for an upcoming trip to Florida with my husband's work. About 3 weeks before our trip we were placed with a foster child. We did not want to leave him behind, but could also not afford to purchase is airline ticket and a ticket to Disney world, and the additional hotel fees, etc. It was then we were made aware of the Wishing Well funds provided through the Utah Foster Care Foundation. Unfortunately, reimbursement rates given to foster parents for care cover living expenses but not much more. Which means when it comes to extracurricular activities we, the foster parents, often end up covering the cost ourselves.  We were able to apply for help purchasing a plane ticket so that our foster son could experience a plane flight and a family vacation for the first time in his life. He got to go to Disney World, Gator land, Sea world, and the beach with us.  During the flight, he was even able to meet the pilot and go in the cockpit. It was priceless! It was an amazing experience to be able to include him in our plans.
 Our family was also able to attend the yearly Foster Family Camp held at Aspen Grove. This event is held each fall in the beautiful mountains above Sundance.  We had just adopted an 11 year old that has been in foster care for over 6 years. He had never been on a family vacation. He had not belonged to a family for a very long time.  We were able to attend activities and trainings and be with other families like ours. There were several kids his age. He looked at me at one point during our stay with tears in his eyes and said "Mom, I belong here. These kids are just like me. They get it." How powerful that statement is. This camp made him feel like he belonged; to be with others that understood his struggles and challenges, and to be truly carefree. The Utah Foster Care Foundation provides several appreciation events throughout the year, giving our kids the opportunity to be just kids, not defined as "FOSTER" kids. These activities give them the opportunity to belong.

I have also had the opportunity to participate in the Annual Chalk Art festival at the Gateway. This event is held father’s day weekend and is meant to raise awareness about the Utah Foster Care Foundation and the need for foster families. Artist's color the streets with amazing art depicting a theme. We recently adopted a sibling group of three sisters through foster care. The oldest was able to participate as a student artist this last year. An experience she still talks about. This year’s theme was super heroes. She chose to draw wonder woman. She wrote around the side of her drawing "Be the change you want to see and become a foster parent. Thank you to the many Wonder Women in my life."  That is such a powerful message coming from a 14 year old. 

I have never seen an organization so passionate about their work. Every member of the Utah Foster Care Foundation pitches in to make this event a success. They are amazingly organized and work cohesively as a team. I have been blessed in so many ways by the support this organization has shown to my family by their generous work, kindness, and love for children. I fully encourage your support of Utah Foster Care, their mission, and their programs.

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Role:  Client Served