Nearly 100 times a day, a child in California is placed in foster care. Los Angeles County alone “parents” over 33,000 abused and neglected foster youth. At Trinity Youth Services, we highlight our dedicated parents who have made the choice to help a child in need by providing them with the love and safety they need and deserve. In this, one of our current foster parents, Art Unzueta, shares his powerful story about his fostering experience. Did you know that engaged foster fathers can have an enormous influence on children? Their presence impacts their self-esteem, academic success and other areas of their lives.
A devoted foster parent who hopes to encourage others to open their homes to neglected children, Art and his wife started fostering in February 2016. According to Art, “We had a 17-year-old for four or five months, now we have Q. He’s been here for two years and four months, and he’s not going anywhere,” he laughed.
Art became interested in becoming a foster parent because he noticed a great need for caring parents. “We love children. We really want to give back. Our kids are grown up. It’s harder to help a child who wasn’t born of your own blood. We see so many kids that need a good home,” Art said.
Although the word ‘challenging’ may come to mind when people contemplate the idea of fostering, there are big rewards from giving love to a child. According to Art, “The love we get from the child is like having our own. Our foster child calls me ‘Papi.’ He melts me. To know I have a little human being in our care melts me away. I can give him something he may not have had otherwise,” he said.
Although there is a lot of information online stating how people can become foster parents, some people have become hesitant about going through the foster care process. For those who want to foster, but haven’t taken the leap, Art has this to say:
“Open your hearts, realize how much you can change and save someone’s life. It’s so rewarding! Initially, I was hesitant about the experience because you hear horror stories about children you don’t know. However, the children don’t come from the best backgrounds, so why be scared to make a difference? I accepted that what I can do changes lives. The good things in life are not always easy.”
With hundreds of foster care and adoptions agencies to choose from, Art discusses why he chose Trinity Youth Services. “We were referred by someone and we had an amazing experience. Everyone at Trinity were helpful and supportive. I love you guys! You’ve been amazing!”
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It’s that time of year again! Father’s Day is just around the corner and all of us at Trinity Youth Services want to express our greatest appreciation to our amazing foster fathers!
The special role you play in a child’s life creates a life-long, positive impact that will help our youth become successful, caring adults. For everything that you do to take good care of your family, we commend you for stepping up to serve our children and for being positive role models who go the extra mile.
As a dedicated foster parent, we know that your first priority is taking great care of the children in your home. We realize that you have busy schedules and may often put your needs at the bottom of your to-do lists to provide the best of care to your family. While having a strong, healthy family is your main objective, there are some things you can do to take care of your family and your mental health at the same time. Here are a few of our recommendations:
Set Aside Time for Laughter
All too often, the demands of raising a family can be overwhelming and can lead to burn-out. In order to handle a demanding schedule, you need to step out of your daily responsibilities to uplift your mind, body and spirit. One way to accomplish this is including laughter throughout your day. According to a study, laughter has many health benefits. Watching a comedy, talking to someone with a great sense of humor, or reading the comics can lift your mood, increase endorphins and reduce stress.
Choose Your Food Wisely
Do you ever get up in the morning and feel lethargic? When you have a busy life, your body needs the right fuel that will help get you through the day. When you choose healthy food options, you will feel stronger, more energetic, and you will also be exhibiting positive eating habits for your children. Creating a healthy, yet delicious food plan each week can help you feel better and maintain a more calm, healthy mind and body.
Practice Thinking Happy Thoughts
Although having a family is one of the greatest gifts one can have, unmanaged stress can lead to unhappy thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. Check in on your thoughts, especially the ones you have when you first awaken. Pay close attention to any recurring thoughts that don’t feel good and replace them with thoughts that make you smile. Practicing choosing good thoughts for at least 28 days can help you feel happier, and a lot less stress. If you need additional help, learn about the Emotional Freedom Technique, a unique self-help tool that can help reduce tension and create more peace.
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