LOS ANGELES — Armida Chow and her husband Brandon have taken a different path towards parenthood.
“We want to help our community we have children that need a loving home that can protect them or they just need protection, that’s all they need from us, so that kind of stirred our hearts,” said Chow.
For the past 8 years, the school teacher and her husband have since fostered five children, eventually adopting two infants as part of the Korean American family services, Asian Foster Families Initiative.
After being put in the Safe Surrender program, Cooper, who is now 6, and Delany, who is now 2 and a half, have been under the care of the chows, and eventually adopted.
While the chows never fostered Asian children, there has been a growing number of Asian American children in Southern California foster systems.
For four years, K-Fam’s AFFI program has been trying to encourage more Asian families to consider becoming foster parents, offering training and the resources to do so.
“We started to see how we can increase the number of Asian foster parents to provide more culturally appropriate homes to the Asian Pacific Islander foster kids,” says Dr. Connie Chung Joe,
executive director of K-Fam. “As we see more Asians in LA county its natural you’re also going to see a growing number of kids, and a number of kids being taken into the foster system because of abuse or neglect.”
The requirements for potential parents include a series of training classes, background checks, and home visits.
The process could last up to a year — potential parents also have to understand that in some cases, fostering is temporary.
With Southern California facing a homeless crisis, the program believes it’s making an impact in keeping kids off the street.
“Statistics show that half of all foster kids once they turn 18 and they’re emancipated from the system, end up homeless in 2-4 years, so there is definitely a correlation between being a foster child and homelessness. When you provide these kids instead with a truly loving and safe home, they end up having a relationship with their foster parents even after they’re 18.”
For nos, the chows couldn’t be happier with their family of four, and they would consider expanding the family in the future.
Interested families are encouraged to contact the Asian Foster Family Initiative through kfamla.org.