Kristine Hendrickson Foster and Adoptive Mother
Kristine Hendrickson, Associate Vice President for University Relations and Chief Communications Officer at Salve Regina University
Why did you decide to foster? As a young child, three of my closest friends were adopted. I always knew that I would add to my family in this way if possible. As a teen, I learned about fostering after hearing that my grandmother had been a foster parent. My plan was to raise my family and then become a foster parent when I was older. As we all know, life does not always happen the way we plan.
How long have you been a Foster parent? Since 2012
How many children have you fostered and what ages? Three. Two of my foster children were newborns when they were placed in my care. One was 18 months.
Do you have children of your own? I am the adoptive parent of a five-year-old.
How would you describe the foster experience? Eye-opening on so many levels. When you foster, you learn about love in an entirely new way. You discover worlds and situations that you could not possibly have imagined, both good and bad. You learn about yourself, your strength and your ability to fight for someone who may not have had anyone fight for them before. You learn about the lives of others. Your patience is tested, your faith is tested and just when you are about to feel defeated – you are reminded again of why you signed up to be a foster parent and how giving the people in this community can be.
What would you tell others? First, I feel it is always important to point out the difference between fostering and adoption and the goals associated with both. It is important for those considering becoming foster parents to know what their personal end goal is and if that end goal is not possible, what alternatives they could accept. In the end, it is about making a difference in someone’s life and being there for someone who needs you to be there. It sounds cliché, but it really is the toughest and most rewarding experience you may ever have.