Peggy Fiebelkorn of Roseville can’t remember a time when foster care children were not part of her life. She estimates that her mother and father welcomed more than 100 foster children into their home while she was growing up and well after she became an adult. It’s a calling she herself has answered.
Fiebelkorn is currently a foster parent to a 14-month-old girl and 2-month-old boy and the parent of a now 9-year-old daughter whom she adopted out of the foster care system four years ago.
“It’s part of my life,” says Fiebelkorn of fostering children in need.
And while the challenges of being a foster parent to children going through a very tumultuous time in their lives are many, the rewards are too.
“You certainly don’t get rich doing this,” Fiebelkorn says. “You do it because you have patience, because you want to open your home, because you are willing to include a child in need as a member of your family.”
Fiebelkorn says the first few days after a child is placed with her are usually the hardest. “We never take anything away from the children,” she says. “We always give them a stuffed toy and let them know it is theirs to keep. We go very slowly and reassure them.”
Fiebelkorn acknowledges that when the time comes for the children she fosters to return to their families or to be adopted, it can be hard to say goodbye.
“It’s easier when I know they are going up for adoption to a family who will take good care of them,” she says. “When they return to their biological parents, I sometimes worry whether the parents will take proper care of them.”
Fiebelkorn still keeps in touch with many of the children she has fostered over the years.
“Most adopted families will keep in touch with us and send pictures,” she says.
Fiebelkorn has been fortunate to receive hand-me-downs and gently used clothes, toys and baby equipment from friends and neighbors to help with the needs of the foster care kids in her home. Mom-to-mom sales have also been a huge help in extending the clothing allowance the agency provides her for the children she fosters.
The state also provides important training that foster parents must obtain each year to keep their license. Among the topics are tips for putting a baby to sleep and how to install car seats properly.
Being so intricately involved in the foster care system is a life path Fiebelkorn didn’t always know she’d pursue, but one that she is glad she has.
“I will probably always do this,” she says. “As long as my daughter continues to thrive and I am able to do it.”
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