A heart for children with special needs.

Twenty years ago, Lori Fink was introduced to Rainbows through a coworker at Levy Special Education Center. The para was a foster parent through Rainbows which sparked Lori’s interest because she had a heart for children with special needs. In 2006, Lori became a foster parent as well. Kerri Dixon, Rainbows’ Foster Care Social Worker, has been alongside Lori through her journey.

“It has been a great experience for my family,” Lori said. “It has taught my children about people with special needs, I wish more families would do it.”

Lori is a single parent with three biological children who have accepted each foster child into their family as one of their own. “One of the boys that was with us went to all my son’s baseball games,” Lori said. “He loved to hang out in the dugout with the team, he was their little mascot.”

Currently, Lori is fostering a 6 year old boy with Autism who has been with her for more than a year. She knows there is a family looking to adopt him. “It is very exciting to see that happen,” Lori said.

Kerri attends the Individualized Education Plan meetings with Lori and helps in any way she can. Rainbows provides respite care after school and on weekends, as well as Camp Woodchuck during the summer.

“He loves Camp and it allows me to get things done,” Lori said. “It has been a blessing.”

Lori’s “aha” moment occurred 6 years ago when her family was sending a foster child to be reunited with his biological family. “It was heartbreaking, we were all in tears,” Lori said. “But his dad said ‘we couldn’t have done this without you, you helped my son grow.’ It was so touching, I knew I was helping this family and it was a good thing, we still keep in touch.”

Lori is thankful Kerri and Rainbows are there to provide the support she needs as a foster parent. “Rainbows is an agency that helps kids, but they help the parents too,” Lori said. “It is a challenge to have a child with special needs and parents need support, Rainbows does a good job with that.”