Isaac’s Story of Hope
At the age of three, Isaac was removed from his birth parents and spent the next seven years living in foster care group homes. He had behavioral issues from the abuse and neglect he had suffered. When he was 10 years old, he went to live with Hillory, a therapeutic foster parent with Children’s Aid and Family Services. Hillory has received specialized training from the agency to help her care for children with significant emotional, behavioral and social needs. “I put a lot of thought into becoming a therapeutic foster parent,” she says. “It can be challenging and you have to really want to do it.”
At first, Isaac was angry and didn’t make eye contact. Hillory used the tools she learned at her trainings and worked to teach him how to be part of a family. She implemented a consistent schedule for him and spent time with Isaac teaching him life skills and taking him on fun activities. “We cooked and ate dinner together, watched movies, went grocery shopping and to Great Adventure,” she says. “I also taught him to make crafts, and I would bring him with me when I volunteered at the local senior citizen center. The older adults loved talking to Isaac.”
Hillory also bought him his first suit and tie for a formal event. “It was important to teach him how to have pride in himself and present himself well,” she says.
Gradually, Isaac became more sociable and confident and formed a strong bond with Hillory. She says becoming a therapeutic foster parent “changes your life. You are sharing so much with a child in need. You become less selfish. It’s very satisfying.”