Personal storytelling is a powerful way to connect real-life scenarios to important practice issues and raise awareness about how the foster care system can support youth and families. The stories in Reflections: Stories of Foster Care highlight the important role kinship caregivers play in the lives of children and youth in foster care, and best practices for how kinship support programs and other foster care service agencies can act as a support to children, youth and families. We are SO grateful to have an amazing Southeast Missouri family included in these stories!

We take this time to celebrate you for all you’ve done
For caring for your granddaughter and your grandson
You took on this awesome task that no one else could do,
Because no one loves and cares for your grandchild quite like you.
Raising your grandchildren at an age when
You thought you might retire, travel and rest
But the children needed caregivers, and they needed the best.
Some came to you in pampers and most in tears
Needing nurturing and someone who cares.
Others came as toddlers, exploring the world on the run
You couldn’t believe this happened- after you thought that you were done.

Still others came at school age, when they needed guidance and direction
Science may have you baffled but you are great at giving affection.
And some of you have teenagers, oh my, what can I say.
Just keep reminding yourself that they won’t stay this way.
We know it has not been easy-often quite a heavy load
And there have been many bumps along the road
You’ve been misunderstood, labeled and denied the services you need
Often criticized and not recognized for your labor or your good deed.

But we honor you who have done so much
To change the lives of children with your special touch
We thank you grandparents: we thank you once, we thank you twice
And know you are appreciated for the rest of your life.

Thank you, caregivers.

From the Brookdale Foundation Group’s Relatives as Parents Program, written by Rolanda Pyle, 2020