“I found myself with this rich and abundant life and wanted to share it with the next generation and didn’t have any children of my own,” says Meryl Ginsberg, a working professional woman from San Jose, who has been a single foster mom for two and a half years.
“Being a foster parent is the best decision I’ve ever made,” says Ginsberg. “It’s been a huge blessing. It’s a privilege to share [my daughter’s] life and to help shape it. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping her.”
Ginsberg’s foster daughter, who was born in Somalia, was 17 when she came to the U.S. after being in an Ethiopian refugee camp since she was four. She had lost her parents and lived in the camp with an uncle.
The Refugee Foster Care Program of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County (CCSCC), a federally-funded program established in 2004, has an ongoing need for foster homes for children and youth from refugee camps around the world, as well as for children who are immigrants or seeking asylum in the U.S. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops refers all children to the CCSCC program. The program currently serves close to 90 children, including Ginsberg’s foster daughter.
“If you’re in a place where you’re able to open your home and make the commitment, the rewards are tremendous,” says Refugee Foster Care Program Director Nira Singh.
Foster parents, including Spanish-speaking ones, are needed both for short-term respite of a few weeks and long-term placement that could be a few years. Interested individuals or couples over 21 are encouraged to apply. After initial screening, including a background check, training for certification is given in two eight-hour Saturday sessions.
For information and screening appointments, contact Refugee Foster Care Outreach Coordinator Claire Collins at 1-866-842-1467 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Collins is available for Refugee Foster Care presentations at community, work, or church events.