Cindy said she believes its more than 20. However, that’s counting a handful of times they filled in for other foster parents for a few days.
“It’s just been a really great experience for us,” Roy said.
Currently, Roy and Cindy have two children in their home: their 4-year-old son Ayden and a 19-month-old child that they hope to fully adopt soon.
Cindy and Roy, who live in Empire, were initially foster parents for Ayden. They began caring for him practically since he was born, and officially adopted him when he was 15 months old.
“He’s a special one,” Roy said smiling as he watched Ayden play in the creek of Gamble Park on Wednesday.
Roy and Cindy said they started looking into being foster parents after they saw a fliers around town telling of a need for the caretakers.
“It was something we thought we could do,” Cindy said.
According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, more than 6,000 children are in foster care.
Becoming a foster parent requires a 10-week course, a background check, a fingerprint submission, a health assessment and submission of various financial records. A prospective caregiver’s home must also meet standards with the Department of Human Resources such as having a fire extinguisher and proper smoke alarms.
“Sometimes it feels a little daunting, the information you have to have, but if you look at it from their perspective, it’s understandable,” Cindy said.
Roy said foster parents do receive payments for each child under their care. However, he stressed that, “If you’re doing right by the kids, you should be going into the hole.”
Not all of the experiences involved with foster care are enjoyable, however. In fact, Roy and Cindy said that the first two children they cared for almost convinced them to give up.
They received two siblings, a 3-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. They said that, while the sister had behavioral issues, the brother experienced kidney problems that frequently sent the Chases to the emergency room of Children’s Hospital every time the boy ran a fever.
They said DHR workers eventually found a better home for the siblings.
Both Cindy and Roy said that some of the most frustrating parts of the foster care experience can be during visitation periods with the biological parents.
“Kids don’t understand why they’re not with their biological family,” Cindy said.
Some parents insist on visitation periods and then don’t show up.
“You have to tell the kids that their parents had something come up — even though want to say, ‘I don’t know why they’re not here,’” Cindy said.
While adopting a child is always a lengthy process, it can take years to finalize if the biological parents do not cooperate, Cindy said. Usually, the biological parents must have their rights as guardians terminated before an adoption is can be finalized.
Cindy said that, more than anything, she and Roy wish it would be easier for the children dealing with the process.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking that 3- and 4-year-old kids would know what DHR is,” she said.