CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — May is National Foster Care Month and, like everything else, the system has faced some challenges during the pandemic. But, this inspiring story shows a commitment to support.
“I got a call in the middle of the night probably around 2 or 2:30 a.m.,” explained Heather Kjos. A Department of Children and Families specialist informed her that two siblings — a 1-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy — were in dire need of placement.
That wasn’t all.
“The little girl was sick and they suspected she may have COVID,” she said, remembering back to the call in mid-March. “The first thing that really went through my head was, ‘There’s a little girl that doesn’t feel good and she needs someone to take care of her,’ and the second thing, I guess, was that nobody else was going to say yes.”
Then, she worried about her busy family’s health but realized they had to manage and make it work. The toddler arrived with a fever.
“I had Tylenol ready, really just got them settled and kept them in one area of the house,” she explained. Testing was scant at this time, so, it was never confirmed that the child actually had the coronavirus.
But, the pandemic has created other challenges for the system, as well. Visits with biological families are taking place over Zoom.
“It’s really hard that these families, they don’t get to touch their children right now and that’s heartbreaking for us,” said Kjos, who has been a licensed foster parent for nine years. “But, it has given me a great opportunity to talk to them and build some trust with them.”
Kjos has three older, biological children and two adopted sons, ages 9 and 7.
“It’s crazy and chaotic and wild and messy, but we’re blessed,” she said with a smile.
The foster children are now healthy and doing well — good news during a time filled with even more uncertainty than usual.
“I know that we’ve given them exactly what they’ve needed when they’ve needed it,” she said with emotion. It’s just so rewarding and so special.”
For information about becoming a foster parent, call 1-888-KID-HERO or click here.