It’s interesting how life prepares you for things. I became an accidental relative caregiver in 2004. A couple of my relatives were placed with me and the state said it would just be a little while — which turned into forever because I wound up adopting them. So that helped me in the work I do now.

I work with the Children’s Administration at DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services) handling recruitment for foster families. I’ve been with the agency for 30 years.

The experiences I had through my own caregiving and adoption process helped me to help other relative caregivers who don’t understand the system. Becoming a caregiver for a relative is different. They usually already know about the children because it’s family. Their struggles are different because not only are they dealing with the child but they need to address the family issues going on “behind the scenes.” I’m able to talk them through it and offer resources because I’ve gone through something similar.

That’s what families need – someone to listen to what we are going through, someone they can count on.

I am an adoptive parent, an aunt, a daughter, and a Recruitment Development & Support Specialist Liaison.

In celebration of Foster Care Awareness Month in May, we are highlighting the extensive network of support that surrounds the child in foster care. From foster families to extended family members, to teachers and foster care youth advocates. We appreciate the unique strengths and skills that each role brings to ensure that children in foster care have the love and support they need to thrive. We salute you!