News Release Archive

COMMUNITY SERVICES--Foster Parents Offer Love, Support
For Don and Juanita Paul of Whycocomagh, becoming foster parents
didn't change their lifestyle. It just gave them an opportunity
to do something they enjoyed more often.

The Pauls love children and are always concerned about their
well-being. So when their nephew needed shelter, he was welcomed
into their home. After their nephew's stay, they opened their
home to another young man in need. These two temporary stays
marked the beginning of the Pauls' becoming foster parents. 

About five years ago, Mi'kmaq Children's Services set up in the
Whycocomagh area and needed foster parents. It was a natural, not
to mention obvious, move for the agency to contact the Pauls who
were already experienced with and committed to providing love and
support to children and families in need. Don and Juanita Paul
didn't hesitate.

Since then, the Pauls have opened their homes and hearts to 11
foster children. The children have ranged from newborn to 14
years of age, and have stayed from four to 15 months.

Currently, the Pauls are caring for a 15-month-old girl. Juanita
Paul, referring to the girl as a little sweetheart, says she's
been with them since she was two weeks old. Last summer, the
Pauls had four foster children, all under the age of three,
living with them.

Nurturing young children brings back memories of Mrs. Paul's own
childhood. She comes from a large family in which she helped her
parents care for her brothers and sisters.

"It brings me great joy to know that I can take care of other
children, especially younger children because they are completely
dependent, so truly need to be loved and taken care of."

The Pauls have three children of their own, a 12-year-old
daughter living at home and two sons aged 23 and 25 who now live
on their own.

The initial adjustment can be difficult for foster children. For
parents, "a positive attitude is important," says Mrs. Paul.
"Being placed with complete strangers is not easy for these
children, especially when they have been physically or sexually

Don and Juanita Paul say they believe that being available for
the children is one of the most important things that foster
parents can offer to help them become stronger. This requires
constant love and care. And at the Pauls' home, everyone takes
part to make it easier for the child.

"Between my husband, my daughter and me, we do everything we can
to help them adjust," says Mrs. Paul. "For example, if they are
crying, one of us will hold them and nurture them until they are
feeling better." 

Foster parents can have a positive impact on the lives of the
children's family, too.

"We support biological parents who are going through treatment
programs, but we also help the children learn that there are
families available who can provide a positive environment and, as
children, they do have the power to make choices," says Mrs.

The commitment of foster parents like the Pauls is honoured
during Foster Family Week, Oct. 19-25. There were more than 1,750
children in foster care and approximately 680 approved foster
homes in Nova Scotia last year.

Part of any placement involves saying goodbye as the children
return, usually, to their own families. Mrs. Paul says everyone
in her family becomes attached to the children, and she has a
special way of dealing with goodbyes.

"I tell them the night before they leave that they are going home
with their mom and dad. I wish them the best of luck and I give
each one of them a special blessing, a prayer and the sign of the

"I tell them that if they ever need me don't hesitate to call me
and that my phone number has never changed."


Contact: Charlene MacLean-Richard
         Community Services

ngr                  Oct. 21, 1997                 11:00 am