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Courtesy of Home Office Mall

An Interview With
Valerie Busic
Author of Billy's New Home

Bedtime-Story: Valerie, we've got a few questions of our own and we know your readers are likely to be wondering many of the same things.

How many foster children have you had and how long, on average, do children stay in foster homes?

(NOTE: Because some of the children Valerie referenced during this interview were still in protective supervision, their real names have not been used in this interview)


VALERIE: First, thanks to Bedtime-Story for accepting "Billy's New Home". It is a project I have been working on in my mind for quite some time and decided to try to write it all out. There are so many aspects of the story that I would like to have added, but had I done that, it could easily have become the length of a full-scale novel.

Some of our foster children have gone home. Others have gone on to other treatments homes. We have had 8 placements. (one child twice)

BEDTIME-STORY: Tell us about some of the children, Valerie. One of the things that we're most interested to learn is whether there is any way the foster parent can keep tabs on an "at-risk" child once he or she has left, to make certain the child remains safe and well cared for.

VALERIE: Our first foster-child, "Jamie", was a crack baby. We had him for two years when they decided his mother was better and they sent him home. I almost fell apart when he left. I swore I would not take care of another foster child again.

A few months later, his mother called to let us know that she would like us to be his God parents. "Jamie" is now 6, we talk to him regularly and he visits us on his vacations, sometimes staying for a week or more at a time.

Apparently the bond we had with him was strong for him too, because he still remembers living here.

We had a few short term placements while we were "Jamie's" foster parents. One of the children was only here for a week. The other, "Karen", was here for 6 months. She had to go on to a theraputic treatment home (intense treatment for severly abused children). After a few months of contact, we stopped calling her because she was getting confused. (she was mentally retarded too).

After taking a break for 2 months after "Jamie" left, and actually turning down a placement of twins, we got a call to take "Suzie". She was 18 months old and had already been in foster care in another state. She had medical and psychological problems and was a very difficult child, but I believe God gave me a special love for her.

We had "Suzie" for almost a year and then she went home. She came and visited us almost every weekend for about 10 months, and then she was returned to us, along with a younger sibling on a full-time basis.

Nap-time and Night-time was an especially difficult time for "Suzie", so with her help, I made up some little stories that would send her to sleep with a smile on her face. The children were with us for 18 months and then for some unknown reason, they were sent back home again. I miss them more than I ever thought I could miss anyone, so I thought I would write our stories down and send them to "Suzie". My own children read these stories and thought other children would like to read them as well. (NOTE: "Suzie's" stories are currently in Editing. You'll be able to read them at Bedtime-Story very soon.)

"Suzie" is now 5 and she calls me regularly. Her mother does let us talk to them and see them, but the children don't spend the night here anymore.

Other of our foster children included a 12 year old boy who was with us for almost a year. He had severe behavioral problems. He had some physical problems too, but thank goodness, with the help of therapy and good doctors, he is now a normal 14 year old boy. He calls us regularly too.

Right now, we have a 4 month old baby that we got when he was only a day old. He is a beautiful child, and he is the reason I have so much time to type my stories out! He is a night owl, so I rarely get to go to bed before 3 am.

BEDTIME-STORY: Surely foster-parenting can be an emotionally debilitating experience from the point of view of any caring foster parent. How do you personally deal with this?

VALERIE: Foster-parenting does have its share of heartache. On one occasion young children under our care were kidnapped from our home by a biological parent. (Crazy, but true) After a period of weeks, we finally got them back again. Weary, battered, and bruised children frequently tell us what goes on in their homes. When, for whatever reason, a defenseless child is returned to that kind of environment, I find myself heartsick at having been myself, rendered powerless to do something to prevent it.

I don't think an hour goes by that I don't think about our at-risk children, and I wish desperately that I could somehow have each and every one of them back in my home, and in my arms, to keep them safe.

I guess for me it sometimes is emotionally debilitating. Fortunately, I work part-time, so that gives me somewhat of a break. I also have 4 beautiful children of my own.

I think after seeing the things I have seen, it's helped me to be a better mom to my own kids. Sometimes, the only thing we have to hold onto is that, although we have no idea why these foster children must suffer, surely God is in control.

BEDTIME-STORY: What was it that prompted you and your husband to become foster-parents ?

VALERIE: My mom was a foster parent, and we ended up adopting my little sister. I think that is what got us interested in foster parenting.

BEDTIME-STORY: You and your husband obviously have a great capacity to both care for and respond to the specialized needs of a number of children.

VALERIE: My husband has 15 brothers and sisters (yep, from the same mom and dad and there were no twins!). He is a very patient man. Sometimes I think my husband handles things even better than I do.

BEDTIME-STORY: Our sincere appreciation for being so candid Valerie, and our thanks for sharing Billy's New Home - for Foster-Children Everywhere, with all of us.


Billy's New Home is Valerie's first published work. Because it is such a powerful piece and raised so many questions about her own experiences with foster-parenting, Bedtime-Story has been pleased to provide this text of an Interview with Valerie Busic - You may send mail to Valerie at:Valerie05@prodigy.net



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