As director of foster care services, Guenevere Kalal has built Damar Foster Care Services from the ground up. Since 2010, she has been charged with creating, building and operating the program – including managing the foster care staff. Guene holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Purdue University and a master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.
A lesson in the power of patience
Patience: Parents of children with special needs often put that at the top of their list of “must-haves.” You must be patient because every little daily task seems to take longer. You must be patient because these children won’t progress through childhood developmental milestones at a typical pace. You must be patient because they don’t always communicate like other kids.
Charlie and Rachel Tucker certainly have demonstrated that they have that patience. A few years ago, they decided to adopt a child. But that doesn’t happen overnight, so they chose to become foster parents while they waited … patiently.
Over the following years, 12 children came into the Tuckers’ lives, all of them with developmental, emotional and physical delays due to being exposed to substance abuse in utero. In every case, the children were either returned to their biological parents’ homes or taken in by relatives.
The Tuckers waited patiently.
And then they met Alexander. He came to live with them about three years ago, after a highly publicized case of neglect. At that time, he was two years old and not eating solid food, playing with toys or climbing. He didn’t respond to his name, respond to touch from others or maintain eye contact.
I think all of our adoptive families are awesome. But for the Tuckers to find love in a child that can’t verbally tell them he loves them back is so amazing.
The Tuckers’ patience with Alexander has borne fruit. Now five years old, Alexander plays with other children, uses silverware to eat, and puts on his shoes and coat. He responds to his name, maintains significant eye contact, and he can climb, crawl and more. The Tuckers are still working on verbalizing, as well as hand-eye coordination. Experts will tell you, it’s a process requiring patience.
Fortunately, the Tuckers have demonstrated that they’ve got what it takes … and that they’re willing to share it. While Alex is currently their only child, the Tuckers hope to adopt again. You can guess they’ll wait patiently. After all, it’s paid off for them before.