After raising two daughters and welcoming a grandson into the world, Susan Orme of Montgomery County still had more to give.
Orme has returned to parenting. This time foster parenting as a single mom. In July of 2011 she opened her home to her foster son, now 14.
“He came for a two-week respite, and he’s never left,” Orme said. “I treat him just like my own son, and I plan to adopt him.”
Orme knows the world of foster care firsthand. For 14 years she has a been a Program Supervisor at Hope Hill Children’s Home, a residential treatment home that offers intensive therapy for girls 12-18 in Hope near Mt. Sterling.
Why become a foster parent?
“I needed to give back more, and I have a heart for it,” she said.
Seth Krusich, Program Administrator at Hope Hill Therapeutic Foster Care, wishes he had more parents like Orme.
“There are so many kids out there who are hurting,” he said. “They’ve been robbed of normal lives.”
Hope Hill is a faith-based, non-profit agency that helps find homes for the state’s neediest children, including kids who have suffered neglect, trauma, abuse, failed placements and legal charges.
Krusich understands that it’s not an easy road for families to travel. “They must have a heart for foster care. We have to be honest about challenges that they may face along the way.”
Families don’t, however, have to travel the road alone. Hope Hill offers families 24 hours of training each year as well as support groups, case managers, therapists, medication management and respite care two days a month.
Each child has a medical card to pay for medical costs, and families receive financial support to feed and clothe their children, and to compensate parents for their time and effort. “It’s a way of saying thanks,” Krusich said.
“I am humbled by our foster parents, by their openness and unselfishness,” he said. “They really are amazing people.”
Currently, Hope Hill’s foster homes are filled almost to capacity, although there is room in the Independent Living Program for more youth. More foster parents are always needed, especially in Lexington and the surrounding areas.
“We often find young couples with no children and empty-nesters who would like foster kids,” Krusich said.
Orme highly recommends the experience, saying, “It is the most rewarding thing that you can do. “I see our future in our kids.”