By Mardi Suhs, Cadillac News, July 19, 2019
CADILLAC - Sara Keinath spent three years in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer. After that she fought wild fires in California.
"Being a wild land firefighter was very exciting, dangerous and exhausting," she said. "But not as exhausting as being a single parent of two toddlers."
Last year, Keinath became a licensed foster care provider with Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. It was one of her life-long goals to foster a child.
Now she is a grateful foster mom to two, toddler brothers who will soon become her adopted sons. She is honest about the challenges and rewards of fostering traumatized children.
Keinath had only been licensed for 10 days when she "got the call" she was waiting for. Although she had requested an older child, she was asked to take in two brothers, one and two-years old. Although unprepared for two small children, she "couldn't say no."
After she agreed she was told they would arrive in two hours.
"I had no toddler stuff, all that extra stuff," she said. Suddenly she needed beds, high chairs, diapers and clothing. She also needed day care. Keinath is the Youth Development Educator with the Wexford County MSU Extension, a job that sometimes requires travel throughout the state.
"I jumped into the deep end and we've learned a lot this year," she said. "It's been a tough road and very emotional. My boys weren't talking yet. When they are pre-verbal they have a hard time making sense of a change in surroundings...we've had problems sleeping, behaviors have been hard. It's been a learning curve."
But there are rewards. These are "her boys." She smiled as she showed off pictures of her sons, adorable toddlers with big smiles.
"It's rewarding to see them feel settled," she said. 'It's taken us a long time to get there. Knowing we are making progress is rewarding. I'm still tired and exhausted, still a single mom with two toddlers. It's hard but somebody has to do this. I know it's what I'm supposed to be doing. Somebody has to step up and fight for these kids."
Along with getting help from her agency, Child and Family Services, Keinath placed a call to the Foster Closet of Michigan - Wexford-Missaukee, located in Cadillac. The night the toddlers arrived, a box of supplies arrived on her porch with everything she needed to get started. Her friends and church family are helping with lawn care, meal times and bed times.
"I feel lucky to be fostering in this time," she said. "We have communities informed about trauma. It's so helpful to feel that people understand our journey. It's still hard. Adoption never comes without trauma and loss."
For link to full article in Cadillac News, click here.