Foster Parent Highlight: Mike and Carolyn Hattaway
Mike and Carolyn Hattaway took their first foster child in February 2003.
They decided to become foster parents because they wanted to have a dozen children but stopped at five. “Having a dozen kids was not really practical for us, so the next best thing would be to open our home to kids who might need a little help.” The family states they love having children around and taking care of foster children helps with our desire to always have “kids in the house”.
Mike and Carolyn explain that the best part of being a foster parent is when you see a child succeed, start an adult chapter in his life, or just find peace with himself, you get the feeling of how life should be. This is what keeps them doing what they do. The reality that these kids, like all family members, are just looking to be able to get thru life and enjoy being kids and adults. As foster parents, we get to watch children grow up daily and make changes daily. It is a wonderful experience.
The biggest challenge in being a foster parent is it is hard to have a child in your home who can’t figure out how to succeed and continues to fight everyone who is trying to help him. Finding the right tools to help a child sometimes is overwhelming and frustrating.
Mike and Carolyn describe their fondest story of being a foster parent when they had a 16 year old teen boy whose parent’s rights had been terminated approximately eight years prior to him coming to our home. The father changed his life. He got out of jail, got a job, got married, basically grew up. He contacted the proper people to try to stay aware of what happened to his son. He asked to talk with his son and the Judge made the decision to allow it. The teen was allowed to talk to his dad. He was then allow supervised visitation, then unsupervised visitation, then an overnight visit, then a month long visit and was then reunited with his dad. What a wonderful experience it was to watch a young teen boy become a son again and a man become a dad. Makes it all worth it.
Mike and Carolyn would give the following advice to those interested in foster parenting: “There are a lot of negatives that come with being a foster parent but there are far more positives. If you have made the decision to become a foster parent, remember, a parent is there through the good and the bad times. Enjoy the good times and hold everyone close during the bad times. Take care of your foster children like they are your own. Love them no matter what and love them enough to do what it takes to teach them how to make it through the day. Be consistent.”