meet the strubhar’s.
an interview about their experience becoming a foster family in hawaii.
hi Jenna! tell me a bit more about your family…
My husband and I are high school sweethearts and have known each other since 6th grade. We got married at 19 and shortly after moved out to Maui. We have two awesome kiddos who are 5 and 7 years old. Nate is a wedding videographer and I was a wedding photographer for 10 years before I started homeschooling.
We love being outside, cooking good food and just being together.
how did you become interested in becoming a foster parent on Maui?
Basically Nate came home from work that night and I told him “I think we’re supposed to do foster care” and he got on board pretty quick.
what was the process of becoming a foster parent in Hawaii like?
We signed up through Hui Ho’omalu.
From there we did background checks, TB tests, three different group training nights, and a home study which consisted of a few hours of interviews and a quick check through our home.
Our first placement (this sweet baby girl) was born 9 months to the day from when we got our license. It doesn’t always take that long to get a placement but it was pretty cool that we got to pray for her, plan for her and anticipate her arrival during her mother’s entire pregnancy.
The child will eventually ease into being reunified with birth parents if they get healthy or be adopted by extended family, the foster family or another adoptive family. This can take weeks or more than a year. When we got our baby girl they thought we’d only have her for a couple weeks and it ended up being 13 months!
The whole process is very much centered around what is in the child’s best interest. Their safety is top priority but the system also cares about making transitions as gentle as possible and giving these kids what they need to thrive. We have absolutely loved every single person we’ve met in this process from baby’s family to to social workers to the aids and everyone in between. All these people really love and care about these kids.
how has being a foster parent changed you and your family’s life?
It’s been the hardest and most wonderful thing we’ve ever done. My kids have loved this little girl like their own sister since we brought her home from the hospital a year ago.
Foster kids will all come with some sort of trauma as they are being removed from an unsafe situation so extra love and patience while they navigate big feelings (or if babies are detoxing from drug exposure) is so important.
This whole process has been amazing and I am so thankful we signed up for it. We are SO happy for baby girl to be moving on to life with her forever family. She is so loved by two families!
does Hawaii need more foster parents? how do people find out more information?
If you are not in a potion to do foster care but have a heart for these kids, there are lots of other ways you can help! You can babysit or be a respite family where you watch foster kids if foster families have to go out of town. You can support foster families by bringing meals or supplies. You can find programs to volunteer with that support birth parents as they work on getting the help they need to break cycles and make a safe home for their kids. You can encourage social workers who are so underpaid and overworked. Or you can mentor foster kids or at-risk youth through local youth centers or programs like Big Brother Big Sister.
what’s next for you and your ohana?
We aren’t exactly sure yet. Baby girl just moved out of our home about a week ago. She felt like a part of our family and even though we’re so happy for her, we really miss her our family needs a little bit of time to grieve the piece of our hearts that left our home.
In the meantime my husband and I will definitely continue to be active in the foster care community in other ways and are hoping to sign up to be mentors through Big Brother Big Sister.
follow Jenna on instagram.
I’m so grateful for all for all of the foster families that are providing a loving and safe space for our keiki. although I am not currently in the space (literally, I live in a tiny home!) to foster myself, I will be doing more interviews + stories with other families in the hopes of inspiring others!
do you know one that may be interested in sharing their journey? contact me!