Although May is designated as Foster Parent Appreciation & Awareness Month, Marla Rasmussen of Sioux Falls knows the satisfaction of being a foster parent year round!.

“It takes a lot of patience, a lot of understanding. You have to remember the situation they have been in. Remember the children have been taken away from lives they are used to. Sometimes, they are taken away from their schools, their parents, their home they have known. It takes a lot of understanding to know what they need and what you need to give them.”

For the past nine years, Marla has been a foster parent to over 40 children.

For me, it’s about knowing these children are safe. I am helping them through a hard time in their lives. Hopefully, we also help the parents become better parents so these children can go back to their lives.”

Needless to say, Marla’s life has gotten really busy!

“Right now I have six kids in the home---three of my own and three foster children. My day off today is filled with five appointments. It gets very busy. The children have become very courteous and friendly. If they see someone that’s fallen down---they’re going to run to them and see if they’re all right. I am hoping I am bringing them a more stable place. I can help them grow independently and bringing them up to where they need to be.”

Marla says foster parents provide the care and support children need to feel safe and secure while their families work through difficult situations.

"I think I either become a good friend depending on their age or become the surrogate parent they might not have had. They go from maybe having no rules and then having a very structured life. Hopefully that will help them in the future with school and things like that..”

Like other foster parents, Marla is touching and changing the lives of the children in foster care. Along the way, the Sioux Falls foster mom’s faith has grown.

“I have to believe that if a child goes home---that God is going to take care of them. This was what was supposed to be. If a child’s coming to me, I am there just to help them through. That is what God has meant for me to do---help them through this situation along with their parents to get them where they need to be. I’ve got to have a lot of faith in the Lord that this is His plan and we’ll get through it.”

Each month, there are approximately 1,000 children and youth in foster care placed with public, private and tribal agencies in South Dakota. Department of Social Services, along with its partners, encourages families to open their homes and hearts, and commit to know more about becoming foster parents.

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