Latino Children in Foster Care
Utah Foster Care is always looking for new families to open their homes, and Lydia Defranchi explains how they’re especially looking for more Hispanic families to ease the transition for displaced Hispanic children. Continue reading
John and Cayce Thill have been foster parents for eight years, and after adopting eleven of the 56 kids that came through their home, they now have a beautiful, bubbly family of fifteen. The Thills say it’s worth the effort, but communication at home isn’t always simple.
In 2007, child and family services placed Jacob, Andrew, Lydia and Ben with them so the four siblings could stay together and the youngest two spoke only Spanish.
“When we were giving them direction or just trying to comfort them they had no clue what we were talking about… So the older two children, Andrew and Jacob would interpret for us,” said John.
Coming into a new home can mean eating new foods or adapting to a different set of rules. But adding a language barrier makes even simple things like asking your brother to pass the salt much more difficult.
Now, the four Thill kids interact easily with their other siblings, but they’ve also completely left their original language behind.
“One of the worries is that the children, relearning Spanish might trigger some bad memories” said Cayce.
Recruiter Christina Lecluyse says Utah Foster care struggles to find enough Hispanic families to let them place children in culturally relevant homes, Partly because foster care doesn’t exist in Latin America, and people might not know it’s an option. But Lecluyse says Latino culture’s focus on the family makes these parents especially ready to help out.
“Oftentimes when we’ve asked families ‘why do you do this work?’ you know, what excites you about doing foster care, they’ll say ‘los ninos traen vida,’ children bring life to the home.”
Sandra and Gerardo Rodiles speak Spanish with the three children they took into their home, but they say they feel like they’re the ones reaping all the benefits.
“It’s just a big emotion you know, Going from zero to three, an instant family and it’s just a wonderful feeling” says Gerardo.
They adopted siblings Ashley, Jordan and Eddie this summer, creating a full house, and they say they’ve never been happier.
If you think you might be able and willing to provide a home, Utah Foster Care is always recruiting and Christina Lecluyse (801-747-0522) provides information and training sessions in Spanish.