In addition to being a loving resource and protector of children, today’s foster parents and foster families serve as important supports for the children's families. We know that keeping family connections strong is an important factor in the wellbeing of children and families. When children cannot be reunited with their families, foster parents often honor the relationship they have developed by adopting the children in their care.
In recognition of the commitment they made when they agreed to serve as foster parents, the team at Spaulding selected three parents at random to receive gifts that show our appreciation. Here are their stories.
Beverly Baker – Foster Parent and Recruiter
Beverly Baker’s mother fostered a “ton of children,” probably several dozen, she recalled. Growing up she would be woken at night and hear, “Move over, dear, and make room for this child.”
So, it’s no surprise that as an adult, Beverly would be open to fostering. She, too, has opened her heart and home to many children. She also has become a recruiter for foster parents.
When asked how she first came to foster a child, Beverly’s story is like many in that she took in a related child. Her brother had a daughter and had separated from his wife. Beverly went before a judge and asked to be allowed to take-in the young girl.
“The judge suggested that I get licensed to become a foster parent,” Beverly said. “So, I came to Spaulding.”
At Spaulding, Beverly received the needed training, support and resources to get licensed. And, she took in her niece at 1 ½ years old. A short time later, she took in two other girls who were sisters. Then, when her niece’s mother got pregnant, she took-in that baby, too, another girl.
“No child should have to be separated from their sibling,” Beverly said.
Beverly adopted the four girls and in total has adopted 15 children, including triplets. She also raised her own birth daughter and facilitated the reunification of many children over the past 30 years as a foster parent.
Beverly also has recruited more than a dozen parents to foster.
“The best way to recruit is when I have my kids with me,” Beverly said. “Someone will ask, ‘Are all those yours?’ And I say, ‘Yes! Let me tell you about fostering!’”
“It’s not a game or playing house,” Beverly said. “You have to be dedicated and you have to know your obligations to these children. And always keep your word. They have had others who don't do what they say – but that can’t be their foster parent.”
When she thinks of the children she’s fostered, Beverly sees her mom’s face.
“They were all looking for love.”
Erika Fields Daniels Ready and Waiting
Like many, Erika Field’s intention with fostering is to facilitate the placement of a child in foster care who needs an adoptive family. She has raised her son – now graduating college, but wants to bring a young child into her family.
So, she went online and found out how to become a licensed Foster Parent.
Erika looked at foster parenting many years ago. She realized, however, that she was unable to make the time commitment necessary for the remaining classes. About two years ago, she was able to attend the sessions and begin the process.
“Potential parents must make a time commitment, which can be done on weekends,” Erika said. “I was excited to learn so many things many parents might not know, from CPR to First Aid."
Today, Erika has completed all the training and certification necessary to foster. She feels very confident that she will be ready, in no small part to the training she received.
“People may not be aware of all that’s involved to ensure the child’s safety,” Erika said. “The important thing is that there are no surprises when you welcome that child into your home.”
These include safety inspections of your home to make sure all building codes are met.
While fully licensed, Erika is still waiting for a placement. Erika's licensing capacity is currently limited to a specific sex and age, which can delay the foster care placement process. In the meantime, she continues to keep her training and licensing up to date and is open to learn more about the characteristics of children who need a foster home.
Leslie and Clyde Shumake wanted to grow their family
After 11 years together, Leslie and Clyde Shumake welcomed their daughter with joy. Then, they learned they would likely not be able to have more biological children. Yet, they knew they wanted a larger family.
Clyde had a cousin with foster experience who inspired him. The couple also had a friend who had worked with Spaulding on their foster journey. So, they came to Spaulding to get trained.
“The licensing agent we had at Spaulding is why we are at Spaulding,” Clyde said. “We love her.”
Leslie and Clyde Shumake earned their license and had a youngster placed with them right away. They fostered him for almost a year, helping nourish the boy's relationship with his siblings while he was separated. The boy and siblings were soon reunited and while he is missed, the family celebrates their reunion.
The Shumakes since have fostered three children, each of whom came as a young child. And now, all three are soon to be adopted into the Shumake family.
They were careful about the age of each child they took in to foster, so that their first daughter would always be the oldest of the family. Laila came at 3 ½ when her parent's rights were terminated. Ja-Kaila was 3 years old, and they are processing her adoption later this year. Brea was the most recent to join the family in late 2019.
When asked what surprised them about foster parenting, Leslie replied, “You must be patient with the process.”
There are a lot of steps for foster parents to follow to support a successful reunification. And even after they had to say goodbye to the youngster who was reunited with his family, the Shumakes knew they would try to serve as foster caregivers again. And they have never forgotten him.
“Fostering is unconditional love. You get into their hearts and they get into yours.”
Spaulding has several online resources to learn what is involved when you consider becoming a foster parent: from orientation to training and home assessment. We encourage you to have a conversation too with a Spaulding professional. Contact Ebony Lucas, (248) 443-0300 ext. 238 andELucas@spaulding.org.
Click hereor on the button below for a guide to becoming a foster parent.
In Michigan, approximately 13,000 children are in foster care and 300 children still need an adoptive family. We need your help to provide a safe, nurturing home until these children can be returned to their families or find their "forever home." When children cannot be returned to their homes, foster parents are often asked to provide permanent homes.
The Chauvin Trial Is Over
Work for Racial Justice Does Not End
A Message from our President/CEO
The April 21 guilty verdict brought a sense of relief to everyone who condemned former Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s brutal act, and a glimmer of hope for racial justice. But even with the outcome of this trial, we recognize this has been an extraordinarily difficult and emotional time for many of our employees, clients, friends, volunteers, and neighbors here in Michigan.
As a child welfare agency strongly committed to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, it is my hope that the jury verdict will also bring a renewed commitment to fight injustice across our state and across our nation.
Our efforts to address bias have never been more important, and it will continue with the full support of our management team. When we stand together against systemic racism, we do make a difference.
Let's Knock Out COVID-19!
Here's Help in Scheduling
a Vaccine Appointment
Are you still looking for a COVID vaccine for yourself or your loved ones?
We encourage you and all our families to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We also encourage families to discuss the vaccination of foster children ages 12 and older with the children's parents and case manager.
Once certain milestones of vaccinations are met, the State of Michigan will loosen a number of restrictions. In addition, there are so many things people can do once they are vaccinated.
If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing many things that you had paused doing because of the pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated:
Can gather with others without wearing a mask in some situations.
Don’t have to test before and after travel.
May not have to participate in screening/testing in some situations.
Don’t have to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19, if asymptomatic.
The Minority Professional Leadership Development (MPLD) program at AdoptUSKids is accepting candidates now through June 7th for the next cohort, which will start October 2021. This fellowship is designed for emerging minority leaders working in the fields of child welfare. The fellowship includes hands-on experience, exposure to national adoption experts, and mentorship opportunities. To learn more about MPLD, and to apply for the fellowship, click here or on the button below.
We are happy to welcome two new professionals, Caitlin Crowley and Daisha Breckenridge, who are both IPP Specialists. We also are happy to welcome two student interns. Jenna Ellenstein is a student from Michigan State University and will be completing a summer internship placement in Child and Family Services. Madison Sprague is a student at University of Illinois and will be interning with the Academy.
Let's Get Outside
Every day you get outside is a good day and we encourage you to explore the many city, state and parks in our community. The Metro Parks each have something different to offer from beaches and trails and special activities and events. There is a new accessible playground at Maple Beach in Kensington Metropark in western Oakland County, where parents of children with special needs will find a family-friendly play resource.
There are also many Nature Centers in the Metro Areas to explore. Remember to bring binoculars to enjoy birds and nature and a camera to catch the sights. The parks and natural areas are a great time to share a hobby with your family as you enjoy the great outdoors.
Michigan Parent magazine publishes a great resource for Things to Do Outdoors. Click here or on the button below to learn about the family oriented nature centers in Southeast Michigan.
We love to see youngsters get excited about eating fruits and veggies and what better way to get excited about a vegetable than to watch it from seed to harvest. Click here to visit The Farmer's Almanac where you can find their schedule for your specific city in Michigan.
Compiling more than 202 years' of data and memories, they've calculated the best time to start seeds indoors, when to transplant young plants outside, and when to directly plant seed into the ground.
Another great resource is the HomeGrown Gardening Series for 2021 from MSU Tollgate Farm. The program is for those interested in starting a vegetable garden for the first time and for those who are experienced veggie gardeners and looking to explore new ideas. This new series is designed to encourage and support home vegetable gardeners and is presented for all levels of experience. Click here for details on the MSU HomeGrown Gardeningprogram.
Finally, you can get free seeds at many libraries, including the Detroit Public Library, through a program called Gro-Town. You can also listen to children’s music and download fun coloring pages designed to inspire young gardeners and horticulturists. Click here for details on Gro-Town.
New QIC-AG Assessment Tool
To better support today’s adoption and guardianship families, it is important that we assess the services as well as the systems overall.
On April 21, 2021 Project Director Leslie Cohen, Site Consultant Stephanie Hodge Wolfe, and North Dakota Administrator of Adoption Services and QIC-AG site champion, Julie Hoffman discussed QIC-AG’s continuum assessment process in a webinar, "Assessing Systems to Support Adoption and Guardianship Families: Using the QIC-AG Continuum Assessment."
The webinar focused on exploration of the target population, macro level organizational structure, and direct services and interventions. Participants were given hands-on and practical instruction on the use of the assessment tool including the engagement of key stakeholders.
To make it easier for systems to access all of this important information, the QIC-AG as added a section their site where you can watch the Webinar as well as learn more about the tools and process. Click hereor on the button below for complete details.
Please keep us posted about news you'd like to share with our colleagues. We'd also like to know your thoughts about our newsletter and how we can better cover what interests you. Email our Editor, Cheryl Gist: email@example.com. Thank you!
In partnership with families, communities, organizations, states and the nation, Spaulding for Children’s mission is to assure that all children grow up in safe, permanent families and have the help they need to be successful in life.