For Libby Edwards, being a foster parent runs in the family. When Libby was a child, her mother provided foster care through DePaul Community Resources and adopted a young girl who would become Libby’s sister. From an early age, Libby observed and learned about the foster care experience firsthand, and would later dedicate herself to helping children in need. After raising her biological children, Libby continued the family tradition and became a DePaul foster parent in July 2017. Since that time, she has provided a loving foster home and formed trusting relationships that have been transformational for the children in her care.
“Libby has done a phenomenal job providing an environment where youth feel safe, respected, and accepted,” said DePaul Foster Care Specialist Janelle Bronniman. “She is able to build attachment, trust, and an open line of communication that empowers youth to face difficulties and actually overcome them.”
Libby credits her ability to create these strong connections with young people to her own background and personal experiences as a child. Having encountered some hardships herself growing up, Libby can relate to and understand their feelings, which helps her to determine how to best interact with youth. “I want to help change their story, so that it doesn’t have to be a bad story but a good one,” Libby said. With her unique perspective and experience with foster care since childhood, Libby recognizes that each child’s background and needs are different, and she avoids having expectations that may be unrealistic for children when they come into her care. When it comes to confronting difficult topics, she takes a direct, honest approach that comes from a place of understanding without disregarding proper boundaries or consequences. Libby’s ability to be both upfront and empathetic while maintaining set boundaries has made all the difference, especially for her teenage foster daughter currently in her home.
“Libby’s foster daughter has been on a difficult journey,” Janelle said. “In Libby’s care, she has been able to drop her guard, confront challenges, begin to heal from past experiences, and grow socially and emotionally. The improvement we have seen is far beyond what we could have hoped for.” Together, the bond Libby and her foster daughter have created is exceptional and both are hopeful that they can make their family arrangement more permanent through permanent foster care. “It’s important to build a good rapport with your child to really understand them,” Libby said. “Each child is different; see what their needs are one at a time and take each day one at a time. When the love comes back at you, it’s all worth it.”