From Critical Care to Foster Care

Deborah Maka is not one to step away from a challenge. Twenty years ago she began her career as a pediatric pharmacist due to the unique challenges that dispensing medicine for children provides. Specializing in critical care, she thrives in an environment where every case is different and each child requires a unique kind of care. It is easy to imagine the parallels between an environment of this nature and the world of foster care.

There’s not one specific moment that made Deborah decide to make the transition from working with children in a professional capacity to bringing them into her heart and home.

“In my twenty years in the Intensive Care Unit, I’ve seen a lot,” Deborah explains. “The stories of child abuse you see on the news where children require medical care isn’t the majority of cases. It’s a small portion. But my job is to take care of that small portion.”

After three months of diligent research, Deborah decided to make the leap and call our foster parent recruiters to sign up for the upcoming session of PRIDE classes. Her first experience as a foster parent lasted for six days, where she took care of a six year-old boy while another foster family prepared their home to accommodate him and his two siblings. That’s the thing about foster care, you never know how long or brief the placement will be. It all depends on the specific needs of the child.

Within 90 minutes of returning the boy to the agency to reunite him with his siblings, Deborah received a phone call. On the other end was a voice explaining that there was a 22 month-old girl in need of a foster home. Was Deborah willing? She swiftly decided that she was.

“She’s your typical two year-old! She’s incredibly intelligent, inquisitive, playful, and kind,” brags Deborah of the child, who has now left her home and joined her newfound forever family. “It’s not to say there haven’t been struggles and sleepless nights, because there have been. It’s not always easy, but I have to say that I’ve been very fortunate.”

Many prospective foster parents are deterred from the process because they are afraid of becoming too attached to the children in their care. This has not stopped Deborah, who whole-heartedly believes in the philosophy of foster care. She understands that the ultimate goal is to reunite them with their parents once they are able and ready to provide them with the care they deserve. She enjoys being a safe-haven to children in care for as long (or as short) as they need.

“There’s a stigma that every child has a major behavioral problem, but that’s not the case. Some just want to go to the playground like everybody else and find a friend there to run and play with,” she says.

Whether it’s playing on the monkey bars, scribbling with sidewalk chalk, or even waiting out in the rain while her foster child finishes playing with anew friend — Deborah allows the children in her care to experience the freedom and innocence of childhood that they have not yet been able to know.

If you have a heart for children, we ask that you consider allowing a child to experience the same freedom and innocence by opening your home to them. Becoming a foster parent is as easy as calling 1-866-90CHILD or visiting http://embracefamilies.org/next-steps to speak to a recruiter and sign up for our next session of classes. Be like Deborah. Be the foster parent our children deserve. Be the foster parent every child can hope for.