Michelle and Annil Gunness have been foster parents for seven years.
Both Michelle and Annil have family members who are foster parents, and it was because of their influence that the Gunness’ decided to become foster parents themselves. They describe the most rewarding aspect of fostering is just knowing the difference one can make in a child’s life.
They share that the biggest challenge of fostering is not knowing what to expect in regards to the child’s background and what kind of behavior they might encounter. “It’s like that movie Forrest Gump when he said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”
The Gunness family share their favorite story from their experience as foster parents in their own words:
“Well this happened to me a few months ago. At present we have three siblings living with us, ages two, three and five. When the three year old came to our home, she was very shy, quiet, never smiled and always kept to herself. We were very persistent and read to them before they went to sleep, we took them to the park, we did all we could to make them feel at home. Well a few months ago we were watching cartoons with them and I noticed the three year old staring at me, when I looked at her she turned her head. I continued to look at the television when I noticed she started to move closer and closer to me until she finally came close enough to lean her head on my shoulder. OMG that was one of best days ever. Its little things like that what makes it so special. This is one of those rewarding aspects of being a foster parent.”
Michelle and Annil would give the following advice to anyone considering becoming a foster parent: “If you love kids, it’s the most rewarding thing you can do; just have patience, understanding and compassion. Trust me when I say it’s going to be an experience. These kids need someone that they can trust, that will listen to them, and will be there for them when they need it the most. We need to be good role models in their lives. We love being foster parents.”