Meet longtime foster parents Jim & Taunya, whose “the more the merrier” attitude has given them a large family and a lot of fun. Learn how they became involved in foster care and their advice to new foster families.
Jim and Taunya approached foster care just how they do many things in life, wholeheartedly and as a family unit.
Shortly after moving to Wisconsin from Michigan, Jim arrived home from work one day and was approached by his wife and daughter, Erin. Taunya and Erin shared that they felt it was time to explore being a foster family.
The family had contemplated becoming involved with foster care in Michigan. After settling into their new community in Wisconsin, it finally felt like the right time. Jim agreed. This worked out well as Taunya had already scheduled a visit with a foster care worker days later!
Jim and Taunya began as county foster parents before joining Family Works as treatment foster parents in 2015. The family identifies their strong faith and belief that they have been called to parent children in tough situations as reasons for becoming foster parents.
Jim shares that foster care has “given our family a life direction. A mission. It’s something Taunya and I plan to do until we retire.”
Together, Jim and Taunya have raised their two biological children, parented Jim’s adult daughter, and became guardians to a teen in their community.
A growing family
As foster parents, Jim and Taunya’s focus has been to support children in returning to their families, not to adopt. Nevertheless, over the years Jim and Taunya offered to be adoptive resources for several children. For a variety of reasons, adoption never occurred as children reunified with their families or other placements.
However, when two siblings came to their home several years ago, Jim and Taunya began to realize that these children would be a forever part of their family.
Because there are so many highs and lows with the adoption process, it is a hard earned success to reach adoption. So although the couple had many years of experience as foster parents, they recently were delighted to become first-time adoptive parents!
Their journey involved both parents and children choosing to become a family. They also explained the adoption process (and paperwork!) has strengthened their bond as a family.
Their current family includes 7 children and is made up of foster children, adoptive children and adult step and biological children!
Their home is busy and full of laughter, hard work and fun. More is merrier when it comes to their crew. The family enjoys having fiercely fun board game competitions, going picking at flea markets and estate sales and playing in their yard.
Being treatment foster parents
As parents, Jim and Taunya are particularly skilled at working with children on the autism spectrum and remaining committed to the youth in their home. They offer structure and discipline, while also being loving and nurturing.
Jim and Taunya provide consistency, support and understanding for children and teens to thrive. They feel that each child who comes into their home is a blessing to their family, and they hope to be a blessing to that child and their family as well.
“The kids we encounter are hurting, disappointed and full of hate at times. They need structure, but most of all they need understanding, love and nurturing.” – Taunya
Jim and Taunya’s advice for new foster parents
“Do respite first before foster care. We did respite for 6 months before fostering. Kids would come on weekends. [We] formed relationships with biological parents too.” (Learn about becoming a respite foster care provider.)
If you have children in the home already:
“Try not to take any kids into your home that are more mature (or older) than your own children.”
“Be very aware of your family dynamic. Know what type of child you want to bring in and don’t overload your family.”
Jim and Taunya believe maintaining their family dynamic is important. Their biological and adoptive children do best in roles where they are the role models and leaders for younger peers.
Through their faith and wholehearted commitment to family, Jim and Taunya have created a supportive, fun-loving, busy, and yes…very large family. Their commitment, experience and positivity are assets to the Family Works community!