Oklahoma children enter foster care from all walks of life, and for a multitude of reasons. They are often frightened, lack trust, and are often confused and unfamiliar to positive forms of affection, basic needs and stability.
This is why special families are not only chosen to help these children in their transitional phases of foster care, but to recognize them for their exceptional care and work. Southwest Youth Services have chosen foster family Don and Christy Sebastian as their Foster Family of the Month for March.
Don and Christy have been married for 20 years. Christy was raised in the small community of Davidson from a family of eight siblings. Don came from the suburbs of St. Louis with four siblings.
The Sebastians are very aware of the great need for foster care and have always liked children, but have none of their own. They once attempted a private adoption but it wasn’t meant to be. They made the choice to become foster parents.
The truth is like the TV commercial “If you believe you must be a perfect parent first… then no kid would have parents.” The Sebastians said at times they consider their lives dysfunctional, but to the children they foster it is viewed as the happy fairy tale story.
Christy and Don completed training this past year, and immediately plunged into fostering. They were nervous and not prepared, even with training. (much like real parenting – you learn as you go.)
The Sebastians say you fall in love with the children very fast because you see and hear of the children’s negative backgrounds. They are kids, but because of the many things they encounter, it makes them very wise beyond their years. Many foster children have been witnesses to issues that would crush most adults, but for the children it only makes them stronger. A hard part of being a foster family is having to hear some of their stories.
The couple feels their role as foster parents is to give the children plenty of support and reunite them with their family. The attachment and love that grows for the children makes it easy for you to become an advocate for each child, but not easy to be advocate for their parents. Both Christy and Don say that you must have an inner faith to help, and if you have no faith you must start a path of obtaining it.
What is the most rewarding part of fostering the kids? For some, it’s bedtime! Collapsing after a hard day of parenting but for the Sebastians it can be the most rewarding part – watching them positively grow and accomplish whatever they choose. And the joy of receiving “thank you and I love you” letters from kids you fostered after they have moved on.
What have the kids in foster care taught Christy and Don? They said, “The kids we have fostered and given our love to constantly reminds us, that regardless of background we all have similar needs and wants. As Christians we try to lead and live a ‘Jesus Lifestyle.’ The golden rule is to be the best person you can be. You owe it to yourself and to everyone around you.”
The Sebastians encourage people to become foster parents and to tell others if you have thought of fostering. Fostering is not an easy thing to do, nor is it a money maker, and you will get frustrated, but in the long run everyone is blessed.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077