Meet the fosters

“Fosters” is a show most of the school has binge- watched on Netflix or watched on Freeform when nothing better is on. In the show, a teen girl is placed in a foster home with a married couple and their blend of biological, adopted and foster children. The show is heartwarming and entertaining. However, foster kids are not just on TV, or even in Ohio, but within the school’s own community.

According to dictionary.com, foster care is a situation in which for a period of time a child lives with and is cared for by people who are not the child’s parents.

As of the most recent U.S. Census Test in 2016, according to The Toledo Blade, there are more than 14,000 kids in the Ohio Foster Care system. This number makes up 5.3 percent of the under 18 population in Ohio.

The high school’s very own track and cross country coach and science teacher, Adam Walters is currently fostering four kids at his home with his wife. They currently have two boys (ages 1 and 2) and two girls (ages 13 and 15).

“We heard a lot about a need for foster parents so we started thinking about it this summer and took classes to become certified. We want to give kids a safe, loving home who otherwise might not have one,” Walters said.

Photo illustration by Sami Level, permission to print by Trinity Russell

Walters and his wife have been foster parents since Nov. 17, originally having six kids for the first 30 days but now having the four.

“Everything about my day-to-day life has changed. The majority of my time is now spent hanging out and taking care of our kids,” Walters said.

His favorite part of fostering kids is getting to give them a good life and getting to know them. The hardest, he said, is the lack of sleep from the two youngest waking up during the night.

“If you have the time and love to give, then I encourage you to [foster kids],” said Walters, “just prepare for a big life change.”

Not only are there foster parents walking the halls of the school, but also foster siblings. Sophomore Trinity Russell’s parents have been foster parents for the past two years. Right now, they are fostering a 2-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl. They’re siblings and their names are Marshawn and Shantell.

The process of getting certified was tough. Her parents had to go through six months of training. They had to get background checks as well as FBI checks. The agency inspected their house, bank accounts, fire marshals checked their home and the agency required an entire blueprint of their house along with physicals for the entire family, including any pets.

“The hardest part is when the kids first get to a home. They have to get used to everyone, and it’s a completely different environment. There are completely different ground rules than what they’re used to,” Russell stated.

Despite these complex legal requirements, Russell also wishes to foster kids when she’s older.

“I love building relationships with them and watching them grow. I like raising them to be good kids and be healthy. I also like having new kids with different personalities. It really teaches you a lot and makes you appreciated your life a lot more. I want to have them because I love all children and I love helping people grow and learn. It's just a special bond you can't explain until you actually have foster," said Russell.

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