Over the past 25 years, Janice Mitchell estimates that she has fostered over 20 children, not counting the five children she adopted. Seeing kids in her community that were in need was what prompted her to start her journey as a foster parent and once she got into it, she realized how much she enjoyed doing it.
But that initial enjoyment of being a foster parent isn’t what has kept her in this role for so many years. Rather it is seeing a child is so broken when they come into her home that later opens up to her. Janice says she shows no partiality between the children she fosters, but rather treats them all as if they were her own birth children – something she ironically never had. “I don’t distinguish,” she says, “I include them in everything we do.”
And she does a lot. A typical day involves rising early – usually around 4:00 AM. She tends to foster smaller children and they travel with her to the town where she works and stay in daycare for the day. After work, it’s suppertime, bath time, and then family time – where they talk about their day, read stories, and play for a little bit. The 8:30 to 9:00 bedtime comes quickly and then they’re back at it all over again the next day.
As for those who are considering fostering, she levels with you – “I would say it’s not easy. You’ve got to want to do it.” But, she adds, “Just hang in there and remember that every day’s not going to be a good day. There will be many children who challenge you, but sometimes we throw the towel in too fast.” She quickly volunteers that the trainings offered by the state have been very helpful to her in knowing how to handle different situations. Janice sums up being a foster parent by saying “It’s not easy raising your own children, not to mention other people’s children.” And yet, she has raised other people’s children for 25 years now and for that, we say thank you!