Foster parents celebrated

  • Group photo with Foster Care Parents (Photograph supplied)

Dedicated foster parents were celebrated at a special event to recognise the care they provided to dozens of Bermudian children.

The Department of Child and Family Services held its annual appreciation tea for the people who “open their hearts and homes”.

A Ministry of Legal Affairs spokeswoman explained that traditional foster parents care for children who are not related to them while kinship foster parents look after a relative.

She added: “Therapeutic foster parents are fulfilling the very unique role of caring for children with special needs and respite caregivers perform a vital function and fit well into the puzzle of the village helping to raise children.”

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the legal affairs minister, was joined by Progressive Labour Party senators Crystal Caesar, Jason Hayward, Anthony Richardson and Vance Campbell to show their appreciation for those honoured during the ceremony.

Ms Simmons said: “The Department of Child and Family Services Foster Care Programme would not be successful without the support of our dedicated foster parents.

“We salute them for opening their hearts and homes to care for the 80 Bermudian children who are in foster care.”

Shalisa Smith, a guest speaker at the function, shared her own personal experiences as an adopted child.

She said that she strongly believed in the quote: “You were born with the ability to change someone’s life. Don’t ever waste it.”

Ms Smith added: “I firmly believe that we are purpose-filled.

“We have to learn to look at the small blessings in life and accept the things we cannot change or control.”

Merle Doars, who raised five foster children, was honoured for her long-term commitment of nearly 40 years serving as a foster parent.

She said: “Although the journey has been filled with trials and tribulations, I am blessed and thankful for having the opportunity to care for so many children.”

Ms Doars explained that she is retiring from care now that her last foster daughter is 18 and overseas on an educational experience in Hong Kong.