When Tonya* came to KP Foster Care more than three years ago, she had suffered a significant loss in her biological family and was going through a lot of challenges. She initially refused treatment and rebelled against suggestions, schoolwork and support. She moved around in different therapeutic foster homes and then was placed temporarily with a family for what KidsPeace staff thought would be a week or so. Suddenly, however, Tonya she was “home”!
Soon, Tonya began really excelling in school; in fact, she was elected secretary of the student council. Her cooperation skills with her treatment team have improved so significantly she is constantly meeting goals and progressing. Tonya also began taking better care of her body and started to demonstrate an outstanding sense of self-confidence. She has been able to participate in speeches at her school in front of the entire student body, she has advocated for her goals in the courtroom in front of a judge and she has even run her own treatment team meetings.
Tonya enjoys her foster family tremendously. When asked what the key to success in this home versus others in which she has lived, she simply replied “love.” She then said that, when she comes home from a long day, she feels comfortable and safe. She explained, “ I don’t have to worry because nothing is going to bother me here.”
She talked about her Treatment sisters, Sally* and Kathy* as role models in her life, Tonya stated that they inspire her to stay in shape, giving her fashion tips and helping her build positive relationships. She discussed her Treatment parents, Meg and Al, saying that they are great listeners, so respectful and helpful to her daily. Tonya said that, since
moving, she no longer has the desire to run away and has found herself to be more patient and trustworthy. She added that, if she could give advice to other foster children, she would say, “Try to stay in one place and see how the family really is. If I never met them (her current Treatment family) I don’t know what I would have done.”
Tonya’s Treatment mother, Meg, added that she finds joy in seeing how comfortable and verbal she has become. A KidsPeace Program Manager asked Meg what gift Tonya brings to her family. Totally in line with what Tiffany answered, she immediately answered with the word: “love.” Meg shared that she became a treatment foster parent to help more kids after raising her biological children. She proudly explained that now, “Tonya has become my daughter.” Clearly, a change in placement brought them together, but love made them a “family.”
*Names have been changed to protect privacy