Foster parenting gives couple strong family ties

Published 5:40 pm Monday, May 14, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Scot and Misty Guy are like any parents of babies: sleep-deprived and harried but so enamored by tiny smiles and soft giggles that it doesn't matter.
But the Guys are raising children who one day may not remember them.
They are foster parents, providing a stable family life for children of all ages who slip in and out of their lives.
Since becoming foster parents two years ago, they have cared for eight children in their home - from babies to teenagers. Two babies live with them now.
No matter how long or short each stay is, the Guys know they have had an impact on their children's lives.
Overcoming fears
Becoming a foster parent was something Misty had considered since she was young. &#8220It's something I've always wanted to do,” she said.
Her husband Scot was also open to the idea, although he had some fears - especially over whether he was up to the task of raising children from challenging situations.
The Guys took 10 weeks of training classes through the Department of Human Resources before they became foster parents.
But experience, as in most cases, has been the best teacher.
Although Scot was a bit apprehensive at first, he knew that he and Misty would enjoy being foster parents.
They weren't prepared, he said, for how much gratification they would receive.
Although they are currently caring for two babies, many of the children who have lived with the Guys have been teenagers.
But raising teenagers - as any parent knows - is challenging.
So the Guys simply try to provide as much normalcy as they can for all of their children.
Most children are placed in foster care because they are in danger of abuse or neglect. But Scot and Misty don't ask any questions - they let the children talk about what they need to talk about, and they let family life evolve.
And, no matter how long a child's stay, they work to try to understand his or her personality.
One boy came to their house during the Christmas holidays. &#8220He had his guard up,” Misty recalled.
But the family celebrated the holiday as they always do. By the time that child left, &#8220it was like he had something he hadn't ever had,” Misty said.
Often the children grow more comfortable with family life. That change can be gradual, but sometimes one thing will surprise the Guys.
Life in the Guy house is like that of any other family, Scot said. &#8220Everybody has chores to do,” he said. &#8220Everyone is treated the same. We go on trips.”
When the Guys get a call about a child, their preparation time can be as little as a few hours or as much as a few days.
Before one of their babies arrived, they knew they would get her a day before she was born. Misty lay awake that night, hoping that everything would be perfect for the child.
After hosting so many teenagers, this would be their first baby.
Months later, even after an almost sleepless night with the babies, they laughed at their antics.
Although they work full-time, like most parents, both Scot and Misty rush home to be with their children.
Always a need
The Guys' foster children are among the more than half a million children in foster care across the country, and Misty believes those numbers will only get higher as problems with abuse and neglect increase.
She said she hopes anyone who has ever considered becoming a foster parent will take the next step and call the Department of Human Resources to inquire about the program.
Many children who aren't able to be placed in foster care go to group homes, she said.
Saying goodbye
Scot and Misty have cared for children for as little as a weekend or as long as a year.
But they have no illusions about forever.
They spend each day loving and caring for children so that they can say goodbye one day.
The Guys don't blame the birth parents; they know that everyone makes mistakes.
As hard as it can be to say goodbye, Scot said that adults are better equipped to cope with it.
Reuniting families is a goal of foster care.
Even after their children leave, Misty and Scot try to keep tabs on them. They keep in touch with social workers; sometimes they even see their children in town or receive letters or phone calls.

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