BLOSSBURG — For 21 years, Gloria and Terry Kshir, of Blossburg, have been foster parents. They have 11 kids, seven of whom are adopted.
They are currently licensed to have four foster kids in their home, which they have, along with two of their adopted children.
“We’ve always enjoyed foster care. it’s great to work with kids. Some kids come with little to no knowledge of basic things that most kids would know, so it’s rewarding being able to teach them skills and kind of molding them and helping them with morals and values,” Gloria said.
Gloria said when her kids were young, she and Terry enjoyed being around them so much that they decided to try fostering.
There’s a lot of paperwork to get started as a foster parent, Gloria said. There are home inspections, safety plans to have in place, physicals, locks on medications, clearances and lots of dedication required. All in all, Gloria said the application process might take up to three months.
As one can imagine, with so many kids in the household, there’s a lot of laughter and fun going on. But, like any family, there are also hardships and tears. To keep everything moving smoothly, the Kshir family has a very structured schedule. Gloria said they’ve had a lot of success with these schedules and setting times for meals, snacks, homework, showers, bed times, etc.
With the existing structure in place, little has changed since the coronavirus pandemic hit. They still stick to their schedules. The Kshirs encourage their foster kids to have a positive relationship with their biological family, so their family visits have moved to Zoom. The same goes for the case worker visits and even court hearings.
“I’ve become much more technologically advanced with the computer,” Gloria laughed, saying one of her daughters had to help her a lot with that.
For the most part, they’ve sheltered inside. They’ve gone on car rides and recently went camping, which Gloria said was nice to be able to get out.
“I’m pleased because we have enough stuff to do with the schedules,” Gloria said, noting that they also do a lot of outdoor activities, like swimming and biking.
Gloria and Terry started with Laurel Youth Services’ foster care program and later moved to Adelphoi when Laurel Youth Services discontinued its foster care program. Gloria said it was essentially the same people they had been working with, just under a new company.
A stereotype of foster parents, Gloria said, is that they’re “just in it for the money.”
“There’s no money in this,” Gloria said. “We do get a per diem on a daily basis, which is helpful for food, gas and clothing.”
If someone has the time, space and love in their heart, Gloria encourages them to help a child through foster care, through organizations like Big Brother/Big Sister or even just helping a foster family in some way. Foster parents and families have to be committed, as children are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
To learn more about fostering a child through Adelphoi, visit www.adelphoi.org/foster-adopt.