In Depth with Brad Byrd: Borrowed Hearts

Local News

They’re often unsung heroes, often overlooked and blend into our society.

They’re foster parents and the need for people to foster is critical in the Tri-State.

Amanda Hughes, President of Borrowed Hearts, and Katie Kuester, Secretary at Borrowed Hearts and a foster parent talk to Eyewitness News’ Brad Byrd about becoming a foster parent in the Tri-State region and what that entails.

Full Transcription:

Brad Byrd: They’re often unsung heroes, often overlooked and blend into our society.
They’re foster parents and the need for people to foster is critical in the Tri-State.
Now consider this statement.
Lead the efforts in which every foster family attains the rights to clothing, hygiene, development, and a loving support system. That is the mission statement of Borrowed Hearts Foundation in Evansville.
Joining me tonight are Amanda Hughes, President of Borrowed Hearts, and Katie Kuester, Secretary at Borrowed Hearts and they are both foster parents.
First, foster parent has such a loose definition – so many definitions – but bottom line, what do you have to be able to do to become a foster parent Katie?

Katie Kuester: To become a foster parent, you have to go through multiple interviews, you have to keep at least 12 to 15 hours a year in training, some of that can be in person, such as reading a book or watching a movie, doing things like that. You have to pass a home inspection as well and show that you have a family support system that will back you up.

Brad: Basically, why did you become a foster parent?

Amanda Hughes: My husband Andrew & I have been fostering, going into our fourth year and we have brought newborns home from the hospital, we’ve fostered teens, and we currently have a two-year-old that we’re fostering.

Brad: And the demand, you gave me some updated numbers and the numbers tell quite a story. And that is the ratio of foster parents in the Evansville area as opposed to 1,000 kids who need parenting.

Amanda: Currently, we have around 160 foster homes. Sometimes, that 160 is not enough, kids are placed out of county, they’re placed far away from their families here in Evansville. So, if we could get 200 more foster homes, the world would be more magnificent.

Brad: How do you do that? You work with the Department of Child Services in this area, but if you’re interested in fostering what steps do you have to take? I mean who do you contact? You?

Amanda: You can call us, but we will refer you somewhere else. You can call the DCS, the Villages is also….

Katie: a community, they lean more towards adoption.

Amanda: They’re more of an agency in Indiana, also Debra Corn has – you can call any one of those three places if you’re interested in fostering.

Brad:I know there are so many kids who are so close to falling through the cracks, and when you talk about the kids who the foster parents become temporary moms & dads to kids, who have been through a lot. And I won’t say I can imagine it, because I couldn’t. But describe some of the kids and the situations that they’re in.

Katie: We’ve had one I taught her in preschool and fell in love with her and brought her home. I got her placed in my home with DCS, and these kids come from such diverse backgrounds that they come with all kinds of challenges. And that’s not seeing their siblings, that is behavior issues, that is things you can’t control in them and you try to get them the best help that you can, and then we also do the little ones. We take zero to two. So, that takes the physical challenges of being up all night when you’re used to sleeping and you have a newborn straight out of the hospital.

Brad: And fostering can be a temporary situation or it could be a permanent situation, if you choose to adopt, but those kids whether it’s a five-year-old or a teen that you’ve been with for some time, how hard is it to say goodbye or it’s been good?

Amanda: It is. That’s the first thing people say whenever they ask you how to say goodbye, how do you not get attached. These kids they need someone to get too attached, they need someone to love them, they need someone to be their family. It is hard, but you have a support system – you cry, and you hope for the best for them. But you have to trust that you’re doing the right thing by loving them.

Brad: Is there a stigma? Especially if you’re a foster child and you’re in school – and kids can be and peers can be cruel – to be a foster child, or to be a child who has had foster parents, what goes with that especially in a five-year-old or six-year-olds mind?

Katie: That’s a hard one to ask. You don’t want to become their mom and dad; you do want to establish that they do have a mom and dad and they’re doing the very best to try and get them back. The goal is always reunification – and sending them home. And so, for them, you’re the temporary placement for those kids until those parents get right back on track.

Brad: And you do work with several different agencies here in the Tri-State?

Amanda: Yes, we partner quite a bit with CASA – a CASA rep. can bring one of the children into our store and they can shop and get the items that they need.

Brad: And this weekend’s fundraiser is critical. And you actually won an award last night. I’ll let you get to that first. Tell me about that briefly if you can.

Amanda: Yes, we went there last night into the 100+ women who care and we were the recipient of their $10,000 award.

Brad: Where will that money go, how will that money be used?

Amanda: Borrowed Hearts, the #1 hinderance to foster parents or people who decide they want to foster is that they don’t have childcare, so Borrowed Hearts is hoping to open a registered licensed childcare ministry and so that $10,000 is one of our founding donations to start that ministry.

Brad: And this weekend’s fundraiser.

Amanda: It’s Saturday, April 27th from 7 a.m. to Noon at Christian Fellowship Church. All you can eat pancake breakfast – tons of family fun activities – five dollars for a family, five dollars for a child, eight dollars for an adult.

Brad: Before we say so long, This will give you some idea of the mission of Borrowed Hearts right here and the need for fosters here in the Tri-State. Well, Amanda Hughes and Katie Kuester thanks for joining us tonight.

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(This story was originally published on April 24, 2019)

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