On July 26, 2017, Truffles*, 14 and his sister, Cheesecake*, 13 were welcomed into the Humenansky family. (After almost a year with the family, Truffles and Cheescake asked if they could share why more people should consider fostering teens and sibling sets as well as offer some advice on connecting with teens. Their foster mom, Rebecca, also shares some useful advice!
*Nicknames used to preserve confidentiality of children in foster care.
Truffles enjoys the Humenansky’s fat dog, biking, getting money from grandmas at Christmas, sandwiches and funny people. He recently chose to be baptized and his future DESTINATION will likely include working with animals because “they are important!”
Cheesecake’s favorite things include reading non-fiction, art, music and being with her big brother.. Her future DESTINATION includes many possibilities - cosmetology, teaching, social work and being a foster mom!
In the past year, Truffles and Cheesecake have enjoyed some fun family DESTINATIONS with the Humenansky family. They’ve enjoyed two Rockies games, birthday parties, church camp and Cheesecake enjoyed her first sleep over. This summer they are looking forward to a family vacation at Great Wolf Lodge. That will be a fun DESTINATION.
Truffles shares – “People think teens are difficult, but we can be very helpful. We are more mature than little kids and like to do fun things. Plus, some teens, like me, come with a sassy sister! Giving teens good family experiences helps them grow past the abuse they’ve experienced. Some people abuse kids and get away with it. That’s wrong!”
Cheesecake shares – “When teens first come into your life, ignore the negativity. We’re just trying to protect ourselves by pushing you away. It might take months, but slowly we will learn to trust you. It just takes time.“
Cheesecake recommends – “Keep siblings together. It really helps to be with my brother. He’s family, I know how to deal with him. Staying with a sibling means not everything about a foster placement is new.“
Truffles recommends – “Everyone should get a cat!”
Rebecca believes spending as much time as possible with each teen is important. Outings together provide time to talk in the car and during the activity. Teens need time to tell you about themselves, their likes and dislikes, what they need, their hopes and dreams. She and Truffles enjoy dates to get milkshakes and donuts (did we mention that Truffles loves food!), shopping for Legos and going to the Zoom Doogle Factory (this is a toy store the Humenansky’s agency uses as a reward system for kids.) Rebecca and Cheescake use their mom/daughter time to shop and talk.
Truffles and Cheesecake both believe more people should foster and adopt teenagers and that siblings belong together. Rebecca and her husband, Joe, decided early on that we were not only open to sibling sets, it was preferred. We believed that if our kids were placed, we would be desperate for our kids to stay together. We wanted to relieve one area of hurt for a hurting family; at least the kids were together.
Some final words of wisdom and a prayer request from Rebecca:
“Don’t let horror stories deter you from fostering teens. Those horror stories don’t happen all that often.”
“Being honest about your own feelings affirms the feelings teens are experiencing. Trust what teens say about themselves. Listen to what they have to say.”
“Pray for our May 29 court date. After appeals and all the hoopla it is our intention to adopt Truffles and Cheesecake. Of course, as you know, anything can change in the blink of an eye with foster care.”
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