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May 16 - June 5, 2009 23
Foster families from Page 1
According to Funk, research shows that children fare “It’s a time-consuming process requiring a strong level “There have been joys as well as challenges,” says
much better in stable family settings where they will be of commitment,” says Funk. “Foster care is challenging Esquibel. “Seeing them leave is always hard, but many of
cared for and nurtured, and the need for licensed foster work. Families providing care are often faced with the kids come back years later to thank us.”
parents who can provide such homes is staggering. demanding schedules meeting the needs of the children By far, the hardest thing the Esquibels had to do as
“The number of Arizona children waiting for a foster placed in their homes. Nevertheless, many foster parents foster parents was help a dying child fi nd peace. The
home fl uctuates daily,” says Funk, “but a recent estimate will tell you that in spite of all the work and the looming family was at his side when Jose, a brave little boy placed
equated to approximately 2,200 children.” reality that the child will some day move out, they get in their home, lost his battle with leukemia at age 10.
Currently, AASK has 263 foster homes serving about their reward from the children. Seeing their faces light Determined to bring triumph from the tragedy, the
350 area youth each week. However, that only meets a up, witnessing them overcoming their fears and being Esquibels started a nonprofi t charity in Jose’s memory.
fraction of the need. Funk hopes educating the public a part of the solution in their lives is what keeps foster “ offers foster and adoptive families
about foster parenting will help increase the number of parents going.” free baby formula, clothes, furniture and other supplies,”
families willing to offer temporary shelter to children Esquibel explains. “We take in and distribute new or
in the system. He emphasizes that unlike permanently
Healing hearts, changing lives
gently used items. It’s a great way to remember a special
adopting a child, serving as a foster parent means aiding
For the Southeast Valley’s Esquibel family, foster care
children in transition.
is a way of life. The Esquibels began by hosting Russian
Despite the hardships, the Esquibels are committed to
“The primary difference between a foster and adoptive
orphans awaiting adoptive families in the U.S., then
providing foster care to at-risk children so long as there
home is that foster parents stay focused on the goal of
opened their home to Valley children needing sanctuary.
is a need.
transitioning the children to their permanent home,”
“One day our son came home from school with a
“This is our life’s work,” says Esquibel. “I wouldn’t
explains Funk. “Consequently, foster parents are trained
pamphlet from AASK about foster care,” recalls Wendy
have it any other way.”
in shared parenting, working with biological parents
Esquibel. “We read it and felt it was our responsibility to
For more information on becoming a foster parent,
when approved by CPS and providing a safe and nurturing
do this.”
contact AASK at or call 602-254-2275.
environment for the children while in their care.”
Esquibel says foster families like hers serve as a bridge
To donate new or gently used items to area families,
Becoming a licensed foster parent requires undergoing
between the diffi cult situations kids have been in and
visit or email
an intake process, attending 30 hours of preservice
a better life ahead. Now in their ninth year as licensed
training and completing a home study. There are no fees
foster parents, the couple has provided a safe haven for
Miriam Van Scott of Kerby Estates is a freelance writer and
involved in becoming a foster parent, but applicants
41 children, adopting three who therapists agreed would
Chandler transplant from the Washington, D.C. area. She can be
must dedicate signifi cant time and effort to the endeavor.
be emotionally unable to transition out of their home.
reached at
Employee baby boom at local hospitals
Workers at Labor and Delivery at Chandler Regional April 30, 2009.
Medical Center have also been patients there this past She says the hospital is focused on being family and
Some of the 20
babies born to
year. baby-friendly.
employees at
Out of 86 registered nurses working in the department, “We encourage our employees to nurse their babies Chandler Regional
16 have had babies in the last 12 months and six more over lunch hours, if possible,” notes Graham. “We made
Medical Center
are pregnant now. In addition, according to Julie a ‘nursing nook’ in a corner of our locker room, complete
over the past
Graham, manager of public relations, marketing and with a baby picture bulletin board, a cubby to store
communications, fi ve physicians or physicians’ wives pumping supplies for each mom, and a fridge to store
Submitted photo
had babies in the last year, including one set of twins. their breast milk while working.”
That’s an average of one a month from May 1, 2008 to
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