Students experience foster care in multiple ways

Students have positive and negatives in their experiences with being in foster care or fostering children

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By Photo by Jena Smith

Sophomore Sydney Humphrey and her mom help her foster sister walk across the driveway on Sunday, April 6. "I like having her around the house," Humphrey said. "[It is fun] watching her grow up even though she is a handful."

Although she may not be related to them, sophomore Sydney Humphrey still loves her siblings. Last June, Sydney and her family decided to foster a nine-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl. Since then, Sydney has grown close to her foster siblings.

“I get to pick on my little siblings and they pick on me,” Sydney said. “It’s nice having a houseful.”

Foster care is a process in which a child is placed under temporary care of an adult or adults after their birth parents are unable to care for them. This differs from adoption, where an adult or adults become a child’s permanent guardian. Sydney’s mom, Heather Humphrey, chose to become one of over 2,500 foster families in Kansas (according to the Children’s Alliance of Kansas) after realizing their family was in a good place  to care for other children.

“[We decided] … that we would be financially stable enough for me to stay home for a while and start taking in foster kids,” Heather said. “[We wanted] to help the kids in need.”

After that, the Humphrey family became licensed to foster children.

“You do a lot of training, you do a lot of background checks, fingerprints and you take a … class where you are licensed,” Heather said.

Freshman Reno Kostynuk has also been a part of foster care, after having been in multiple foster homes. Currently, over 3,500 children are in foster homes in Kansas, according to the Children’s Alliance of Kansas. Though he was eventually adopted, foster care was not an ideal situation for Reno.

“You couldn’t make friends easily and you couldn’t keep friends,” Reno said. “You couldn’t have very many possessions either. Right when you started to get to know your foster parents, you’d have to move.”

Despite this, Reno has had the chance to become close to his adoptive family.

“I have parents that care for me and my brother,” Reno said. “It feels like they gave birth to me. It feels like I’ve known them my whole life.”

Reno’s adoptive mom, Tanya Kostynuk, shares similar sentiments.

“I felt an instant connection with both of them,” Tanya said. “[It was] like they were always supposed to be my kids.”

Even though fostering children is difficult, Heather recommends it.

“It’s very rewarding,” Heather said.  “If you can financially do it, it is well worth the time and the energy.”

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