Between Families – December 2021

Home for the Holidays

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but can be a challenging time for youth in foster care. Here are four things every child in care needs this holiday season:

1. The opportunity to share his or her own traditions, and create new ones. Experiencing familiar traditions can be comforting for a child in foster care. If possible, find out from the child’s birth parents what they did to make the holidays special. Learning, participating in and encouraging traditions that are a part of the child’s birth family history sends a message that the foster family understands and respects the connection between birth family and child.

2. Validation of loss and sadness during the holiday season. For many foster children and youth, this time of year can be especially difficult to navigate. The feelings of sadness, missing their birth families and wondering if they will get the opportunity to see them during the holidays might be prevalent in the mind of foster children and youth.

3. Fulfillment of Christmas wishes. We know that a gift does not replace the loss a child is struggling with, but gifts and special moments such as seeing Santa, opening up brightly wrapped presents on Christmas morning and loving interactions within the foster home absolutely helps children and youth feel special and not forgotten.

4. Families. Simply put: Children in foster care need families who are willing and able to hang in there with them. There is always a need for more families to actively participate in the foster care system. The fact that foster care is needed and necessary in our communities should not fall lightly on anyone’s heart. During the holiday season and other times, please consider how you can get involved in making the difference in the life of a foster child.

Kansas Care Provider of the Month

Brian and Amanda Miller in Hutchinson took two girls, a three year old and a three month old, after the previous home disrupted on them for behaviors from the older child. In the last month, they have helped the three year old regulate her temper, and she is now playing age appropriately with her sister. The family and foster care worker have been working with the permanency specialist to make sure the girls stabilize placement and have all their needs met. They have had three moves since entering care on October 8, 2021. Since November 4, they have been a part of the Miller home, thus far their longest placement. We are very happy to have the Millers be a part of our foster program!

Kansas & Nebraska News

On December 14, the 2nd annual virtual foster parent Christmas party will be held for all Kansas and Nebraska foster parents and their families. There will be door prizes, games, and special appearance from Santa! Please be on the lookout for your invite and be sure to RSVP in advance to be eligible for door prizes!

Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month

Nina and Marcus McFall have been certified foster parents with TFI for over a year and since that time they have fostered eleven children in their home. They open their home to temporary placements and long-term placements and are always willing to help out with respite for other families, when needed. Nina and Marcus have recently taken the Pressley Ridge Training to ensure they have the training needed to be a placement for children with higher needs. Nina and Marcus were previous foster parents in Kansas and after relocating to Oklahoma reopened their foster home with TFI and continued to foster and provide care for children in need. The McFall family goes above and beyond to advocate and support the children in their home as well as after the child leaves the home. The McFall family is a wonderful foster family and TFI is blessed to have them as a part of the TFI family

Oklahoma News

Foster Parent Support Group Meeting

Starting in January we will begin having foster parent-led support group meetings, allowing fellow foster parents to discuss any issues/concerns and receive advice from other foster parents. There will only be one staff on the call to take attendance and ensure there are no technical issues. The staff will not participate unless asked to do so.

If you are interested in facilitating a support group, please let your worker know and we will put you on the list.

The Support Group Meeting will be held from 7-8 p.m., the 3rd Tuesday every month. You will receive 1 hour of training credit for attendance. We will send an invite out to all foster parents with a link to join the meeting, via TEAMS. If possible, please join the meeting on your computer versus your phone.

The first meeting will be held from 7-8 p.m., January 18, with foster parent, Nina McFall, facilitating. Thanks to Nina for agreeing to facilitate!

Texas Care Provider of the Month

Maria Ruiz provides a single-parent foster home in Arlington, Texas. Ms. Ruiz initiated the process to foster in 2019, motivated by the desire to adopt her granddaughter. During the process she opened her home to another child and reported, she “immediately fell in love with fostering.” After that child returned to his father in 2020, Ms. Ruiz seized the opportunity to foster a sibling group of four. Currently, Ms. Ruiz hopes to adopt the children, if parental rights are terminated. Ms. Ruiz reports she enjoys spending time with the children having game night, going to the park and movies and treating them to their favorite restaurant, Olive Garden. We are proud to partner with Ms. Ruiz to meet the needs of Texas children!

Texas News

Things in Texas continue to roll along!  The new residential facility in Wichita Falls had its groundbreaking ceremony in November.  Attendees from the Legislature, City Council, CASA, and other civic organizations came out to support Texas Family Initiative in this new endeavor.  The Human Trafficking Center continues to make progress.  After significant Covid-related construction delays, the building is back on schedule and we hope to open our doors in early 2022.  Texas foster care had a fantastic month, as well!  During National Adoption Month, Texas Foster Care completed adoptions for 8 children, many of whom have been in state care for a large portion of their lives.  Texas Foster Care continues to grow – watch this space for exciting events in the future!

Training Corner

The Special Kind of Trauma Children in Foster Care Face During the Holidays

The holidays should be a time for joy, laughter, good cheer and good food. But for children in foster care, it can be a rather fraught period. At a time when the focus is on families coming together, being separated from biological parents or siblings can initiate strong feelings of loneliness, anxiety, sadness or fear…

Read the article below, fill out the quiz and send to your worker for credit. 

Need Additional Training?

Check out these other training opportunities in December

Recruitment Spotlight

The recruitment team would like to take this opportunity to send out a huge thank you to all our current foster families. Because of you, a child will get to spend the holidays in a home surrounded by people who love them. You provide a shining example to others that even amongst juggling your jobs, school, sporting events and preparing for the holidays, you make room in your life for a foster child possible.

Our holiday recruitment campaign is in full swing and our staff are rising to the challenge. Our goal is to hit 500 foster family referrals by December 23rd and with your help we can reach that goal. If you know a family that is interested or wants information about what it takes to become a foster parent, please share this link to our online application Become A Foster Parent – TFI (tfifamily.org).

Curtis Anderson
Recruitment Supervisor

Fund Development

‘Tis the season! Our favorite time of year!

Last month we had our “Golf Ball Drop” event and raised over $12,000!  Thank you to everyone who participated! The funds will go to local offices to provide holiday presents for the kids in our care.

This year our Annual Christmas Giving Tree project looks a bit different, and we have added an online option. We still need thousands of gifts for the kids in care in all our states. If you would like to adopt a child for the holiday season, you can choose the local area then you scroll through the wish list and choose the child you would like to buy for this year! It’s easy and helps make the holidays more special for the kids.

KS/NE: https://www.signupgenius.com/tabs/83c70d607aecfeac24-kansasnebraska
Oklahoma: https://www.signupgenius.com/tabs/83c70d607aecfeac24-oklahoma
Texas: https://www.signupgenius.com/tabs/83c70d607aecfeac24-texasgifts

Thank you for your generosity during holidays and all year long!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any contacts, questions, or fun stories of generosity at 785-213-6161 or skearney@tfifamily.org.    Thanks for all you do!

Oklahoma/Texas: Steven Mandeville | 918-728-3378 | smandeville@tfifamily.org 
Kansas/Nebraska: Sheila Kearney | 785-213-6161 | skearney@tfifamily.org 
Events & Volunteer Coordinator: Libby Hayden | 785-294-6606 | ehayden@tfifamily.org

The winner of this month’s newsletter giveaway is Shawn and Kortni Joplin. To claim your $25 Amazon gift card, please email your foster care worker and tell them you won the giveaway. You must email your worker within the month of December to accept your prize.

Happy Anniversary

Thank you for opening your hearts and homes to children in need.

19 Years
Ray & Karen Berry

17 Years
Foster Ray & Sharon Young

16 Years
Madelyn Crawford

15 Years
Robert & Linda Gibson

13 Years
Tracy & Rebecca Tice

11 Years
Tommy and Tonya Williamson
Leisa Baird

10 Years 
David (Mike) & Christy Bursack

5 Years
Amber Rivera
Chad & Amanda Kishpaugh

1 Year
Jodi Pass
William Hathaway II
Zachary & Robin Ebmeier
Clarence & Stephanie Williams
Jason & Holly Ryherd
Amy Moot
Brandon Sallack & Guadalupe Nunez
Shelli Stanley
Edward & Doris Hart
Tom & Angel Oakley
Luke & Amanda Oldweiler
Ethan & Savannah Leach
John & Sabreena King
Jeremy & Crystal Thurston
Virginia Quarles
William Frizzell & Alicia Martinez
Stephanie Schell
Aaron & Shayna Campbell
Joe & Shannon Culver
Nathan & Kelly Hylton
Shane & Megan Kimbrell
James & Tiffany Gillespie
Jeffery & Julie Ashworth
Danielle & Tara Pingsterhaus
Elizabeth & Emily Butcher
Cory & Summer Boren
Timothy & Sarah Zepick
Randall & Gretchen Lammon
Shalalia Morrow
Danny & Jessica Charles
Augustine III & Tammey Lopez

Amazon Smile

Every time you make a purchase on Amazon, TFI Family Services can earn money and participating does NOT increase the price you pay for your purchases. Visit smile.amazon.com or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services to support youth in foster care.

Dillons Rewards

Every time you make a purchase at Dillons, TFI Family Services can earn money. Please visit dillons.com/communityrewards or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services as your nonprofit to support youth in foster care.