The House of Good Shepherd is starting one of its two yearly classes that teach people interested in becoming foster parents. Eyewitness News spoke with two Utica residents who took that class about three years ago, and say they're lives have not been the same since.
"I mean for me my life didn't have a purpose until I became a foster parent," says Lori Davis
Foster parents Lori and Jim Davis are currently caring for two young children. Over the past few years, they've cared for eight.
"I always wanted to be a mom, he always wanted to be a dad, and we never had children of our own...It fulfills that need in us to be parents while also helping the children and helping the families," says Lori.
The Davis' say they've housed children for just a few days up to many months. While they say they form a great attachment and love for the children they bring in, the goal is to care for them until their own families can. "The kids come to our house, we treat them as our kids, we take them wherever they go, we have all that fun and sort of stuff, but you have to be ready to say goodbye," says Jim.
They say it's not necessarily easy, but extremely rewarding. You have to work on building trust with the children, be honest, and be supportive. Lori and Jim say the training program is helpful in teaching parents how to do that with children of all ages. A rep from The House of Good Shepherd say they offer parents as much support they need.
"These are children are good children, they just need a loving, structured environment," says Sue Novak.
And the Davis' re-iterated that point. "That whole mother instinct. It doesn't have to be your own child, it just kicks in. I just went out to the car, put him in my arms, and that was it, I was done," says Lori Davis.