The Hardest Part is Saying “Yes”

Please note that some names and other identifying information in these stories have been altered to protect the confidentiality of those involved. 

Written by Emma B. –

“I honestly believe the hardest thing about becoming a foster parent or an adoptive parent is… being willing to say yes.” Benjamin Weiner and his wife jumped this hurdle over 8 years ago when they began to foster a young girl named Fran.

Family Service of RI (FSRI) Chief Operating Officer Ben Weiner and his wife started their fostering journey as a “visiting resource” - essentially a consistent adult presence in a foster kid’s life who may take the youngster to movies or out to eat. It was through this that they first met Fran when she was 8 years old.

Fran remained close with the Weiners as she grew up and moved through the foster system. Sadly, she could not be reunited with her biological parents. About a year before Fran’s 18th birthday it was clear that she would “age out” of the system without anywhere to go. The Weiners knew it was time to say yes.

Both Fran and Ben and his family were full of excitement about this new beginning. However, it was in no way easy. Ben first realized what it meant to foster and to be a foster child the day Fran moved in.  “There was a lot of excitement but visually to me you could see this child with her whole life came walking in the door… it’s true for a lot of kids in foster care their lifelong possessions have traveled from place to place with them… and they show up with boxes or garbage bags of their stuff and that’s the way it was.”

Ben knew that welcoming someone who had a whole life of their own was daunting but he also felt he was creating a place where she could finally give her lifelong possessions a lifelong home. And so after nearly a decade of moving from placement to placement, Fran reached her last stop.

Ben’s two sons, who were ages two and six when she moved in, were ecstatic to have gained another playmate. Fran and Ben, who both love to cook, found in each other a kindred kitchen companion. Surrounded by her new loving, supportive family, Fran completed her high school junior year.

Right before her 18th birthday, the Weiners adopted Fran. A year later, they watched as Fran graduated.  With the help of the Weiners, Fran has built a life for herself. Fran is now 26 years old and lives in her own apartment, about a 20-minute drive from the Weiners. Fran is also a proud mom – and Ben and his wife are even prouder grandparents.

Ben is proud of getting to watch her with her daughter knowing that the moment he and his wife said yes and every moment after where they chose to care for and love Fran allowed them to be where they are today. “Relationships and families are not always perfect and people are not always perfect. The intent around foster care is not perfect kids and perfect parents, it is everyday people who have a variety of challenges, personalities, aspirations, hopes, positive sides, negative sides.”

There are many ways to be a foster parent and Ben’s story did not begin with the intention to adopt. There are many ways to be a support in a child’s life and every journey can take many routes “The reality is we do not need perfect parents; we need people who are committed and caring adults and it’s really not that complicated.”.
FSRI can assist you in finding a way that best fits you. All it takes is being willing to say yes – and that yes can be as small as reaching out to an FSRI representative today to learn more about what you can offer a child in need. To learn more about what is means to foster, please give us a ring at 401-900-8499.

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