Foster families share challenges during COVID-19 pandemic

Community

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — May is National Foster Care Month and at Gov. Gina Raimondo’s daily briefing on Wednesday, she addressed foster families like Chris and Christina Pichette.

The Pichettes always knew they wanted to be parents, through whatever route worked best for them. They opened their hearts to foster care, then adoption, and then parenting through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was supposed to be a temporary placement and of course, later on that night when we put her to bed, we were like ‘OMG we love her so much’ and we were hoping and praying but we didn’t know if it would have the outcome it did,” Christina recalled.

The Pichettes recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of adopting their daughter. They’re also fostering a son now, but are unsure of how long he will be with them.

Christina said during the pandemic they’ve had to resort to virtual meetings with the boy’s biological parents and DCYF. They have strict guidelines to follow with the state and credit the foster community for keeping them connected.

“Today in Rhode Island we have almost 1,600 foster children in loving homes, 200 of whom were placed this past year,” Raimondo said. “This time has been filled with anxiety, financial hardship, difficulty, mental illness, that is often especially true for those who have taken in a foster child or two.”

There’s also a call for more people to foster a child as there is a big need. The Pichettes say it is all worth it — to help a child and give them the love they deserve.

“If you think you might be able to help in some way, discern it. Take time to think about it. Talk to people about it,” Chris said.

The Pichettes added that even if you don’t want to be a foster parent, you can still help the foster community. They noted that several volunteers helped them get their house ready in time for their daughter’s arrival.

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