Foster parenting in Bermuda: a rewarding experience
Being a foster parent is one of the most rewarding experiences one could ever have. Opening your home and your heart to a young person in need is truly amazing. It is also not for the faint of heart.
When you welcome children into your homes, one can never know what to expect.
Most foster children are your normal everyday children, simply in need of love and a secure family environment. Unfortunately, others may come with underlying emotional issues that are not easily detected.
What is most important to remember is that fostering a child will change their whole world for the better. Many want to be accepted, but most of all loved. The presence of a loving, caring adult to guide and protect them can be the difference in a young person choosing path A or path B.
I remember my first day as a foster parent like it was yesterday. At the time, I was only 24 years old — the youngest foster parent in Bermuda.
In my heart and mind, I had grand plans that I was going to be the best foster mother by teaching her everything that a mother teaches a daughter, and most of all love her.
Strangely enough, it was she who taught me how to tap into my inner patience and to learn that I should not be too proud to reach out for help from others when needed.
I was able to use tools that were taught in training seminars to be a better foster parent and, ultimately, a better mother.
Not every day was a perfect day, but they were all days in which I learnt how to grow by inner reflection.
I would encourage anyone with time who wants to help shape future generations of Bermudians to sign up.
May is National Foster Parents Month and I would like to thank all those who have fostered children in Bermuda over the years. You are truly appreciated.
The Department of Child and Family Services is seeking therapeutic foster parents. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, reach out.
• Lindsay Simmons is a government senator and the Junior Minister for Social Development and Seniors, and Home Affairs