Colorful cubbies for the children at her in-home daycare

Pet birds keep the home lively

Her passion from children is what drives her to go the extra mile for her foster children. 

By Adrianne Pearl Gimenez 

It’s a bright afternoon and Tiffany’s daughter Taylor welcomes me into their home. Although the shades are drawn, the room is bright with colorful cubbies, building blocks, birds, and a glowing karaoke machine. It’s nap time and the children at her in-home day care wake slightly just to go back to their siesta. For the last 13 years, Tiffany has been licensed as a family child care day care provider. With her experience and love in working with children, she felt a calling to become a foster parent and got her license to be a foster parent. “I’m very involved at church and I felt that maybe it was God’s plan for me to give back, for me to give children a place to call home”, she comments on her decision five years ago to become a foster parent.

 As the current foster mother of 4 children, the home Tiffany has made for her kids are filled with positive reminders. Plants line the wall of her kitchen, the birds chirp freely in the background, reminders of strength, gratefulness, and kindness are sprinkled throughout the house. “My job is to plant a seed, not to change them, but to plant a seed in them that helps them to realize their full potential”.

“My job is to plant a seed, not to change them, but to plant a seed in them that helps them to realize their full potential.”

The phrase, “Planting a seed”, has served as a mantra to Tiffany, “When my first foster child was reunited with their family, it was hard on me. You give your heart to these children but it’s not my job as a foster parent to keep them. It’s like a piece of you leaves with the child but I had to learn that I did my job, which was to plant a seed and show them a positive example of family”. In her work as a foster parent, Tiffany was inspired to create her own non-profit Seeds 4 Hope to help foster families like herself. “I wanted Seeds 4 Hope to be a place of rescue, a place of security, a place where families could find other families to relate to”. Though the nonprofit is in its early stages, Tiffany hopes that it grows into a vibrant community to support foster families through the good and the difficult times.

 Being a foster mom has its own challenges. Although Tiffany has raised 3 children of her own she remarks, “It’s not the same as raising your own children. You don’t really know where they come from and you have to really learn what works for each child differently”. The most challenging difference in being a foster parent Tiffany adds is trauma, “You need to get in the trenches and really learn about the children and spend time with them. I did a lot of research and drew from my experience in working with children.” Before running her own daycare, Tiffany worked extensively with traumatized children at Riveredge Hospital. Combined with her experience and research she came up with different methods and activities to help her foster children heal and manage their trauma. She brings me around the house and shows me the calming down strategies, behavior charts, and daily sheets the children use.

 In working with the children Tiffany praises CASA for their work with the children, “I like that they come and do things with the children. It makes the children feel important. They go to the park together and they are there during court”. With the generosity of Panduit and CASA partners, Tiffany’s foster children were given skateboards, helmets, bags, blankets and clothes to ease their transition into her home. “I think every child should have a CASA”, Tiffany adds.

 As a foster mom, Tiffany has gone above and beyond for her children. She is spoken of highly by case workers, CASA, and teachers a like. Her secret, “Be ready to parent the children as if they’re your own. You need to have a passion for it.” 

Though they all come from different backgrounds, together they are a family. 

CASA of Will County
3200 McDonough Street
Joliet, IL 60431

815.730.7072

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