A Former Foster Child Recalls Her Experiences In The Home of Her Foster Parents, FAFS Founders Sue and Bernie Dondiego
As a result of being in foster care, I learned to be loved. I learned to be treated with respect and dignity. I also learned mostly what it was like to be part of a non-dysfunctional family. I learned what it was like to be part of a family. I was allowed to be “normal” and to have two wonderful parents who cared. As a former foster child, I still remember my time with my foster parents fondly.
Education was always a priority and I did very well during my time in foster care. My foster parents always pressed upon us that education was important and I carried that with me throughout my life. Even though I didn’t go directly to college after high school I knew I had to get a degree sometime and I did eventually go back and earned an associates degree in Accounting.
Not every foster home is a good home or a good match for the child. It takes a great deal of wisdom to place the right child with the right foster parents. Sometimes you don’t have a choice because you’re a child in the system and the adults have the decision making power over your life. However, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade is what my foster parents taught me and I’ve carried that throughout my life. Continue reading →
Milestones in Foster Care History in NJ – The 1970s – Foster parents Sue and Bernie Dondiego and Hattie Talley go from a kitchen table with just the 3 of them to a statewide meeting of concerned foster parents after forming the New Jersey Foster Parent Association (NJFPA), known today as Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS).
Milestones in Foster Care History in NJ – The 1970s – Memories of the NJFPA’s First Meeting at the Shiloh Baptist Church
What I remember most about that first meeting is how many people showed up, because it was only by word of mouth. At that time, we had no other way of getting the word out. We didn’t know who was who really. We knew some people, and we said if you know any foster parents, tell them to come. We told all the people we knew and they all brought people. We always had good meetings in the counties. We had a lot of representation. I would say, out of the twenty counties, we had at least twelve counties. Some were more strong then others. Middlesex was strong because we were from there, Burlington was strong because of Hattie, Camden was strong and Newark was strong – and Jersey City was strong. Some of the foster parents who came to that first meeting are still fostering today! Continue reading →
Milestones in Foster Care History in NJ – The 1970s – Foster parents Sue and Bernie Dondiego and Hattie Talley sit at a kitchen table and discuss issues facing foster parents and how to work together to bring about positive change for the children in their homes. They create the New Jersey Foster Parent Association (NJFPA), known today as Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS).
Milestones in Foster Care History in NJ – The 1970s – Meeting with Hattie Talley and the Formation of the New Jersey Foster Parent Association
When we met at that kitchen table back in the early ’70’s, it was just a few foster parents talking. Hattie Talley, who went on to form the organization with us, Carol, and ourselves. We were just telling war stories like we always did. But then Hattie said, “This is how it’s always going to be if we don’t help one another. We have to support one another and reach out to one another.” And that’s how it started that day. Continue reading →
History shows the early 1970s were a challenging time for foster parents in New Jersey. At the start of the decade, there was no local organization for foster parents to join to get support, advise them on advocating for foster children, or even provide training on parenting abused and neglected children and teens. This all began to change in 1972 when a few foster parents met and came to a conclusion.
“Someone has to stand up for the foster children. If not the foster parents, then who?”
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Make a Lasting Impact
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
I believe there are imaginary threads in everyone’s life, and these threads are connected. If you pull on these threads you will find the answers to why you do the things you do. These threads bind your life together and give meaning to your actions. Often times, these threads are the people who mean the most to you – for me, my grandmother is the reason I work at Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS).
I don’t mean this literally. My grandmother died long before I thought about changing careers from corporate to non-profit. She never advised me on what career to choose, but she is the reason I am here. I’ve come to this realization over the last few years, and, frankly, it came as a shock to me. Continue reading →