CHESTER TOWNSHIP — Being a foster parent can sometimes be tough emotionally, but it very well worth the journey for the Gale family.
Krissi Gale and her husband, John, of Chester Township have been certified foster parents for seven years.
“It’s been something that was in our hearts before we were married,” said Krissi.
One of the reasons they took this journey is because of their faith.
“We are called to show his love to the world, and being foster parents is one way we can do this one child at a time. We love them like Jesus loves them,” said Krissi.
The two decided to wait and get to a “better place in their life” before they began the process to become foster parents. In the meantime, they had four kids of their own: 16-year-old Jarren, 15-year-old Kaylene, 12-year-old Kenzley, and 10-year-old Jett, all of whom have been a big help as well.
“They’ve always accepted that this was a part of our family and they’ve never really questioned it,” said Krissi.
Since becoming a foster family, the Gales have had 12 foster children in their home. Usually they have one or two children at a time. Krissi advised they’ve taken sets of siblings at times.
“Most of them had been under school age, by choice,” said Krissi. “I’m a stay-at-home mom so I can stay and take care of them.”
The biggest piece of advice she’d give potential foster parents is to make sure everyone in the family is on-board with becoming a foster family.
“You don’t want just one person involved and driving the decision. It can lead to frustration,” she said.
While they love helping these kids, Krissi advised it’s not always easy emotionally.
“We get attached to them, so with the uncertainty of how they stay, how much do you guard your heart?” said Krissi. “We give as much as we can and we just take the heartache as it comes.”
But the best thing about it is knowing they play a role in helping the children’s lives.
“You make these relationships that’ll hopefully be carried on. Some may not remember, due to them being so young, but we know we’re still making an impact,” she said.
How to become a foster parent
According to the Clinton County Job and Family Services, an applicant to become a foster parent includes these steps and parameters:
• Attend free pre-service training classes, which the agency provides
• Submit an Application for Child Placement, along with a medical report, a criminal record check (including fingerprints), a financial report, references
• Get a fire and safety inspection of their home;
• Take part in a family assessment (including info gathering and interviews.
• The applicant(s) must be 21 and older; they can be single, married, widowed, or divorced. If married, they must be married for at least one year.
• The applicant(s) must also have a stable income, and be stable in their physical and emotional health.
Foster parents are paid “a monthly per diem for each child in their home.” This assists with the costs for food, shelter, clothing, and other necessary items. Medical costs are through an Ohio Medical Card.