About the blogger:
Jen Nachtigal and her husband Ryan have been foster parents for the past sixteen years. They always knew they wanted a large family, but their God-designed mega crew was nothing they could have ever imagined. They have welcomed over seventy foster children into their home, and have adopted seven children. They have eleven forever children between the ages of 18 months and 23yrs old, and currently have two foster children. In her spare time, Jen is contracted by Community Impact Programs and Kenosha County as a Foster Parent Champion, providing support and encouragement to foster families as well as promoting foster care in the community and recruiting more loving homes to foster children. Jen is passionate about foster care advocacy and brings many years of experience to the foster care conversation.
Being a foster home has profoundly affected my family in every possible way. We have opened our homes and hearts to over seventy children in the past sixteen years and I can definitively say that although it can be difficult at times, our lives have been immensely enriched.
Foster care is simply making space in your life to help our community by allowing a child into your home for a period of time. Whether you can commit to a defined time of respite, saying yes to being a safe place for the weekend in an emergency while a home is found for this child, or whether it’s saying yes to a child for however long they need you, you can positively affect the life of a child and their families right here in Kenosha County by being a soft place to land.
We have accepted placement of children between the ages of birth and fifteen years old. The majority of our experience has been with newborns and infants who have been affected by prenatal substance exposure. Our children have histories that are heartbreaking and full of pain, but also are the success stories of their time in foster care being in a family who loved them unconditionally and, in most cases, have been able to reunify them with their parents who did the hard work to be safe, appropriate parents. In other cases, a relative is found who can care for them until their parents can. And in the smallest of cases, the child needed a forever home which was joyfully provided by our family, or another foster home in our community who is willing to adopt.
So many of the situations our children come from undo me still. Kids who are dropped off with nothing. Or with emotional or physical trauma that is difficult to watch. Even our newborn babies from the NICU, placed directly at birth, have trauma from prenatal exposure to so many things.
We are aiming to make little bits of difference with each child who crosses the threshold of our home. You can also be someone who makes a huge difference. Caring adults who understand and are sensitive to the unique situation of foster kids is an enormous need in Kenosha County. We are at a crisis with the number of homes we have being unable to keep up with the children who need safe and loving adults who are willing to say yes. If you would like more information, please visit us on Facebook and Instagram at Foster Care Kenosha, or call Community Impact Programs at 262-654-1004. Even liking and following our pages on social media will bring awareness to this crisis level need in Kenosha. In addition there are other ways you can help if you can’t welcome children into your home, please contact us to find out how.
I am just a normal person, doing what now feels like a normal thing, standing in the gap for a family in need.
Community Impact Programs, Inc.
6233 39th Ave. Kenosha, WI 53142