The Transylvania Times -

Fostering Families Raise Hope And Foster Dreams


May 29, 2017

Courtesy photo

Children seek security and the feeling of being wanted. (Photo used by permission of Warren Brunner, photographer.)

Almost 50 children from Transylvania County have been removed from their homes to protect them from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, there are not enough foster care homes within the county to care for these children. Some children will be cared for by extended family or Kinship Care. Without extended family options, some will be placed out of county, some as far away as Charlotte and Greensboro.

Jason and Kellie Trent say they heard "the real life stories and needs right here in our own county" while attending an informational session on Foster Care led by Black Mountain Home for Children, one of several agencies with licensed homes within the county.

According to Jason, "We signed up for the training class to learn more, and it was in that class that we knew, this was our calling."

When they began attending months of foster care training, they surprised friends who saw them at a station in life where they could begin enjoying some freedom with their own three children now in their late teens.

Foster care, though, became a family and community affair.

Jason said, "You always start from a foundation of loving these kids, but this is not a journey you want to take without support from, friends, your church, neighbors.

"When we started this journey, I thought my satisfaction would be simply providing a stable, loving environment for these kids during the most turbulent times of their lives. And while that is great and very satisfying, I am most amazed at how it has changed and blessed my life."

Jason Trent advises others who are considering becoming foster parents:

"I want to let people know that there are many ways to get involved...You could simply come alongside another foster family to help support them. You could get licensed to provide weekend care to families that need a break. Or you could step into the waters of being a foster family and take the most fulfilling and rewarding journey you could ever imagine. The need is so great...and these kids simply need a loving stable home," he said.

Dan and Kathy Hedberg are also aware of the need for foster care within the community. Through Children's Hope Alliance, they are trained as therapeutic foster parents.

They raised four children of their own. They had learned some of what it takes to be a foster parent. One of their daughters is serving as a foster parent in another state.

Moving to Transylvania County, they saw the need for foster parenting in this community, and they feel it is a way to give something back to the area they chose as home.

Children's Hope Alliance provided the Hedbergs with 40 hours of training over several months. Their challenge is to provide a safe, stable, loving environment for children in their care. When asked what it takes to be a foster parent, the Hedbergs replied, "Patience and enjoying helping children. The main thing foster children look for is security and feeling wanted."

Because they are providing therapeutic care, there are written goals and objectives to work on every week. Dan said, "We learned to be observant of behavior and body language as signs of future behavior."

If possible, the goal is reunification with the child's family, which takes time.

Dan admits, "We may not see all of the results of our efforts for family reunification now, but one or two years down the road, they may reflect something they learned while staying in our home."

Jason Trent and the Hedbergs are founding members of a group called Fostering Families, made up of members of churches and child and family nonprofits within Transylvania County.

Working with the Department of Social Services, Black Mountain Home for Children, Child-ren's Hope Alliance and Access Family Services, Fostering Families seeks to recruit foster parents and respite family partners and to promote resources for foster children within the county. The Children's Center is the contact for more information.

For participation or to arrange for a speaker, call Kathie Williams at the Children's Center at 885-7286 and ask about joining the Fostering Families effort. Participating partners include First United Methodist Church, The Family Place, Brevard Community Church, Bre-vard Wesleyan Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Access Family Services and the Children's Center.

(This article was submitted by Fostering Famil-ies, a group of local churches and nonprofits within Transylvania County dedicated to the support of foster care in our community.)


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