Foster families work collaboratively with biological and adoptive families to ensure children’s needs are met, model positive parenting strategies and facilitate transitions that are minimally disruptive for children and their families. The following story is a beautiful example of this practice.
Rufina and Ian Sleight have been fostering for less than two years, and have already made a significant difference in the lives of four children and their families. Their first placement was twins with developmental delays and severe behavioral challenges. The Sleight’s diligence and compassion for these young children was the driving force behind the exceptional gains the twins have made developmentally and behaviorally. These young children have developed social skills beyond what would be expected for their age and developmental stages, and continue to make gains developmentally with Rufina and Ian’s patience, nurturing and expertise.
While teaching skills and exercising great patience, Rufina and Ian naturally developed a respectful and caring relationship with the children’s biological mother by inviting her to meetings and medical appointments, sending her pictures, and consistently sharing information. When the courts determined the biological mother was unable to care for the twins, the mother approached Rufina several times, asking her to adopt them. This truly demonstrates their mom’s recognition of the exceptional care Rufina and Ian provide, as well as her trust in them. While Rufina and Ian were not in a position to adopt the twins, they are currently advocating for a forever family and the best possible care for these two little ones.
In response to an increasing need for foster homes for babies, Rufina and Ian took a nine month-old baby boy into their home. Rufina worked diligently to connect with this baby’s mom, sending her pictures and using a communication book. Although his mom did not respond, Rufina continued to demonstrate her care and concern for the child and his mom once he returned home. She wrote a note to his mom offering support and guidance at any point during or after his transition home.
The Sleights have now taken their fourth placement, an 11-month-old girl, who is thriving in their home while they work toward reunification or permanency for her. The Sleights continue to provide exemplary care to all children in their home, helping them to develop in a safe, nurturing, family environment. Rufina and Ian are truly inspiring and every day they demonstrate the difference foster parents make in the lives of so many vulnerable children and families.