Ms. Whitfield Fostering Kids And Pets


Marcela Marcial, Beat Investigator - Featured Athlete

Foster parents help fight the problems of homelessness, substance abuse, mental health, domestic abuse, and poverty. It’s a tough job.  While caring for foster children, foster parents give a child’s birth parents the opportunity to overcome their problems. Jennifer Whitefield, a Speech Pathologist here at Sahuaro, fosters both kids and pets. Ms. Whitfield and her family started off with pets because she wanted her two boys, Conner who is 15 years old, and Finn who is 12 years old, “to get use to the idea of having fosters and then the potential of letting them go,” she said. The reason why she started fostering, is she hopes to adopt a little girl in the future.

She started off with puppies and kittens, and everyone knows that once you see a puppy or a kitten, you want to keep it forever. So as soon as they were able to figure out how to get comfortable giving back the pets, they realized they could maybe be comfortable giving back a foster sister.

The youngest she has fostered was a 2-day old baby girl, who came straight from the hospital, and the oldest was a little girl who was 18 months. She only fosters little girls who are 0-3 years old because her two boys really want a little sister. “What they wanted to do was to have a little sister. They wanted to be able to see her take her first steps, wanted to be able to walk her to school, and get an idea of what having a little sister is like.”

Ms. Whitfield has been fostering pets for about 3 years now and fostering kids for about 2 years. It has been fun for her and her family. She was once fostering a litter of puppies and fell in love with one of the puppies, so they eventually adopted her. She also fostered a kitten and soon fell in love again, which led to her  adopting the kitten too.

Not only has she fostered puppies and kittens, but she has also fostered a bird (a parakeet) and a couple of guinea pigs. She tries  not to take more then 2 puppies or kittens because it becomes a lot of work.

Ms. Whitfield said that she once was fostering a little girl that her and her boys got really attached to and it was really hard to say good-bye. Not only for them but for the daycare she went to and Ms. Whitfield’s friends and neighbors that interacted with her. “It gets to be really hard because we all get attached to children because you form a bond with them… they become a part of the family.”

To become a foster parent, it’s a long process. Your house has to go through these inspections. There’s a long application process and classes that you have to take. Ms. Whitfield had to take a class once a week for 6 months before becoming a foster parent. She said the classes didn’t even cover what the experience was going to be like.

It’s something that herself and her family love to do and will continue to do for a long time. Ms. Whitefield hopes to one day add another member to their loving family.