Between Families – January 2022

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Foster Parents

As we look ahead to a new year, this is a great time to reflect on how we’ve parented both biological and foster children. Parenting children with special needs is a challenge, but often it’s the little things that lead to our biggest successes. Below are some realistic thoughts and ideas to help strengthen parenting skills.

1. Say “Yes” More. Try saying “yes” to spending quality time doing things together along with setting aside some individual time for each child.

2. Say “No” More. As parents we hear “I want”, “I need”, and “Everybody else has/does it”. Be empathetic to the child’s needs before saying “no”. Give a reason to help the child understand your rationale. Look at alternatives or compromises. Say “No, and…” to encourage more cooperative behavior.

3. Worry Less. Keeping kids safe should be a priority, but don’t let your large and small worries drive your life. Take care of yourself and the things you can control. Provide ways for children to safely explore what’s around them.

4. Listen More; Talk Less. Ask your child questions – What do you think? What are you feeling? What would you do? Tell me about it.

5. Negotiate Less; Explain More. Kids deserve to know the thinking behind our decisions and expectations but should not be equal partners at the bargaining table. We are the parents.

6. Read a Little More. Reading is a good way to spend time together. Reading with your child, and in front of your child, will also help them grow as readers. Grab books, magazines and newspapers and have them available for children.

7. Write a Little More. Get in the habit of writing notes of encouragement, love, recognition and daily appreciation of life.

8. Expect a Little More. In the New Year, expect more from your children, like good behavior, responsibility, manners and kindness. When we place limits and restrictions, we get the minimum. When we expand our expectations, we may be pleasantly surprised.

9. Expect a Little Less. Be okay with a little less constant scheduling and activities. Slow down, you move too fast. Children need a lot of slow to grow. Create a daily schedule that is more balanced and realistic. Teach kids how to relax and model the behavior for them.

10. Connect More. Take steps to maintain personal friendships, and stay connected with family, other parents, the community, those less fortunate and the natural world.

As a parent, some days will be easier than others. Parenting a child takes time and effort. Remember that what you are doing is important and is having an impact on the child. For foster parents, you may not see this transformation right away. You are planting a seed in the life of a child that may grow in the future. With love, compassion, and nurturing, your seed can take root and produce amazing results when we least expect it.

10 New Year’s Resolution Ideas For Foster Parents (fostercare.com)

Kansas Care Provider of the Month

Steve and Sheila Fagan are one of the most deserving homes that we have as care provider of the month. Sheila is a hard core advocate for the children placed in her home and will go to any means necessary to advocate for them. The Fagans are a true example of what working in partnership with bio family should look like. They have invited bio family into their home on numerous occasions to supervise visits in a natural setting instead of CASA or an office, and recently let a child and her bio family that was recently reintegrated home come back on Christmas Eve and spend the night so they could all celebrate Christmas together as one big family. Steve and Sheila are loving, respectful and gracious with the children that are placed with them. TFI is lucky to have them as a foster family.

Kansas News

Well, that’s a wrap for the year 2021, but our foster care recruitment team has many events planned that are coming up! Look for us out and about in the community this month. Places you can see us are:

January 7 – Wichita State University Lambert Johnson Foundation Marketing Event and photo shoot
January 16 – El Rio Bravo Grocery KC (11 S 10th St, Kansas City, KS 66102) Cathy May will be hosting a booth
January 20 – El Rio Bravo Grocery Wichita (2020 N Amidon Ave, Wichita, KS 67203) Cathy May or Curtis Anderson will be hosting a booth
January (exact date TBD) – Pay it Forward with Duncan Donuts (2560 N Rock Rd, Derby, KS 67037)

Nebraska Provider of the Month

Edgar and Sarah Mariel opened their home to foster care in 2020. Since opening, they have accepted several difficult placements. The Mariels have three children of their own and have a passion for helping children in general. Edgar is a Pastor at a Local Church and Sarah has her own photography business. They are currently providing care for a high need little boy. Edgar and Sarah take children into their home with the mentality that we are called to help those in need.  Edgar and Sarah do a great job working in collaboration with different agencies to make the transition smooth for the youth they are caring for. The family enjoys attending church, going to the zoo, traveling and spending time together as a family. The Mariels believe that family is important and strive to include foster children in their family and community. The Mariels are willing to seek additional trainings and skills to make them the best foster parents they can be for the children they care for. We at TFI are so blessed to have families like the Mariels, who open their homes and their hearts to kids in need. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they show love and compassion to foster children and as they help bring awareness to their community about foster care. Edgar was quoted as saying “Jesus says to care for widows and orphans, so that is what we are going to do.”

Nebraska News

As TFI continues to work on growing in the Nebraska community, we would like to announce that we will be hosting an event to educate locals of our services. Any questions about foster care can be answered at the event below.

January 22, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Omaha Children’s Museum (500 S 20th St, Omaha, NE 68102) Anne Peterson will be hosting a booth

Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month

Loreen Miller has been a licensed foster parent with TFI since 2018 and since that time she has fostered 13 children and currently has placement of three children in her home. Loreen has a passion in caring for children in foster care as well as providing care to countless other families and children in need of respite care. Loreen always does what she can to provide other families with an opportunity to receive respite. She has been an amazing advocate for the children in her home to ensure they obtain the services needed. TFI is blessed to have such a wonderful, compassionate and kindhearted foster parent as Loreen. Thank you for being a part of the TFI family and we are grateful for all you do for children and families.

Oklahoma News

HAPPY NEW YEAR Oklahoma foster parents. We look forward to supporting you in 2022. As a reminder, required training hours each calendar year are 12 hours.

Ways in which you can obtain training hours:

  1. You will receive monthly talking points from your worker the first week of each month. When you have reviewed these with your worker and signed the required form you will be credited with .5 hours. (This will give you 6 hours for the year).
  2. Monthly foster parent support group meeting is held the 3rd Tuesday of the month via TEAMS. An invite will be sent to your email. (You can receive 1 hour of credit for attending the meeting).
  3. Annual TFI foster parent retreat. Information regarding the retreat will be provided at a later date. (The retreat provides 5 hours credit).
  4. Between Families Newsletter provides monthly training for foster parents. Foster parents can sign up to receive the newsletter at Newsletter Signup – TFI tfifamily.org. (You can earn .5 hours monthly when you return completed training documents to your foster care worker).
  5. Trainings that you take outside of TFI will need to be approved by your foster care worker. This can include:
    • Non-fiction Book (title, author, total number of pages)
    • Documentary/Educational Video (Title, total hours)
    • Workshop/Conference (total hours w/agenda attached)

Your foster care worker will provide you with a training verification form that needs to be completed and returned to your worker in order to receive credit.

When training is completed, you are eligible for a 150.00 training stipend, per family, not provider. Trainings must be completed prior to 12/31/22 in order to be eligible for payment. Applicable for families certified prior to January 1, 2022. (Approval for this stipend is based on yearly budget; it is not guaranteed annually).

Texas Care Provider of the Month

Michael and Tomi Moe opened their beautiful home in Justin, Texas in 2019, to serve two children with Primary Medical Needs. Mrs. Moe is a registered nurse and was motivated to foster children specifically who suffer from severe medical conditions in part due to her awareness of the deficit statewide for such care. Tomi expressed the most rewarding thing about fostering children with Primary Medical Needs has been witnessing the progress in their health, personal growth and wellbeing.

Although the children served by the Moe family have limited mobility, the family does not let any obstacles hinder them from facilitating the creation of meaningful long-lasting memories. Recently, one of their foster children celebrated his birthday with a huge Toy Story-themed party at Kids Mania. The birthday was co-hosted with his biological family who they consider part of their own. The Moe family understands nurturing a connection to the children’s biological family is very important for the sake of reunification. Their other foster child chose to celebrate her birthday with a unicorn-themed party at their home having invited all her favorite people to honor her and take turns riding the two unicorns that arrived.

As a family, the Moe’s enjoy hanging out at the house enjoying movies and “camping out” in the living room. The Moe’s frequently share with their TFI Case Manager how big the personalities of the children are and what a joy spending time with them each day is. We are proud at TFI to partner with the Moes to best meet the needs of children in Texas.

Texas News

December brought exciting times for Texas foster care! Adoptions were our focus for this month. Our families adopted children in all parts of Texas – from Abilene to Dallas/Fort Worth to the Texas panhandle regions. Texas Foster Care was honored to have a part in helping these children find their forever homes.

The 2021 Christmas toy drive for foster children was a great success. Every child in a Texas foster care home received gifts from their wish list in time for the big day on the 25th! Texas foster care also provided gifts to every family working with these amazing children as a small token of our love and appreciation for the work they are doing.

The year 2022 will continue to bring exciting changes to Texas – the professional foster care home in Abilene will be operational by spring and the Nicole’s House human trafficking center is nearly complete! Work continues on the Wichita Falls residential operation – keep watching this space for details! We here in Texas join our friends in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska in wishing all of you a wonderful 2022.

Training Corner

Connecting With Your Foster Child

As a new foster parent, you may be having trouble connecting with your foster child. Don’t worry – it is very common for parents to have trouble forming a bond with their new family member, no matter what type of foster placement you have. A connection with a child in your care may be something you have to work on, so that’s why Excel are here to support you throughout. If you feel that you are struggling to connect with your foster child, we have compiled a list of helpful advice so you can form the desired bond…

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 January

Recruitment Spotlight

With 2021 coming to a close it’s time for the Recruitment Department to perform our annual random drawing for our $1,000 recruitment prize! Each foster family that has entered our ambassador program by recruiting a family for TFI will have a chance at winning this awesome prize. We will announce the winners in our next newsletter and contact that family by phone to let them know they’ve won.

Foster families have always been our number one recruiters, and we hope to keep that trend going in 2022. For every foster family you recruit that becomes licensed you will receive $500 and a chance to win the $1,000 prize at the end of the year. More foster homes give these children in care a greater chance at being placed within their own local community.

Thank you for all that you do and have a great year!

-Recruitment Team

Fund Development

Happy New Year!

Last month, fund development worked with our different agencies to help provide holiday gifts for thousands of kids. The biggest way we help with this is by doing our “Golf Ball Drop.” All of the funds raised from each “Golf Ball Drop” go to our local offices to buy Christmas presents for children in foster care. We were able to raise nearly $20,000 between both ball drops! Thank you to all who bought and for your generosity throughout all of 2021!

We have lots of events coming up this year in Texas and Kansas so, let us know if you’d like to get involved! We always have great needs for event sponsors and volunteers to help things run smoothly.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any contacts, questions, or fun stories of generosity at 918.728.3378 or at smandeville@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 Kregg and Katie Carothers. 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 January to accept your prize.

Happy Anniversary

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

13 Years
Lydia Horner

12 Years
Tracy Sharp-Marion

5 Years
Sarah Crowley
Chad & Carey Jones
Heidi Baumgartner

1 Year
Issac Hindman & Stephanie Ryherd
Drew Bosack
Blair & Jordan Kocher
Taylor & Elizabeth Meagher
Tracy & Kathy Dancer
Anne Simpson
Jessica Handle
Jathan and April Henslee
Jeremy & Kayla Smid
Brian & Diane Wheeler
Lenora Mackey
Eric & Jolee Bradford
Misty “Missy” Cross

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.