Though Stephanie Tesreau only recently became a part of the Hoyleton family with her new role as Director of Communications and Marketing, she is no stranger to our mission and the critical services we provide youth and families in Southern Illinois. That’s because she and her husband have been foster parents for over 12 years.
Learn about Stephanie’s journey as a foster parent and why her new role at Hoyleton is so special for her career:
How did you first get started as a foster parent?
My husband and I both came from large families, and we were used to little ones in the house. When we got married, I had a biological son; my husband wanted kids, but couldn’t due to a prior period with cancer. So, fostering was something for us to do together.
Now, we’ve been fostering children for 12 years and have had over 12 kids in our home. We’ve adopted three boys over the past two years, and we’re working on our fourth adoption that should be finalized this year.
How will you approach your new role given your own personal experiences with foster care?
It’s interesting because when I took this position, I told management, ‘this is the one job where my passion, my spiritual gifts, my life experiences, and my education collide.’ It made me smile just thinking about it because I would never have imagined that everything that I had been working on independently would come together in one career.
My personal and professional lives right now are very intermingled because, while I’m here [at Hoyleton], I also work with foster moms at a state and community level where I’m helping them get through whatever emergency they have. At my day-to-day job here, I focus on what I can communicate not just to foster parents, but also help inform the community of other areas Hoyleton serves. So, I will always strive to make sure that they have the resources they need.
Additionally, it’s important for people to know that a foster parent’s job is often to co-parent alongside birth moms or a guardian. Most of us don’t expect that – even me probably, years ago when I started. Now, I have a relationship with my foster daughter’s grandma – we built that relationship, and she’ll always be in her life. And that’s important because kids need to know that they weren’t just forgotten. Unfortunately, sometimes those kids do feel that way and while we can’t always fix that, if we build those relationships it may at least help a little.
What opportunities and priorities are you focused on in your first year here with Hoyleton?
Communication is the biggest thing; people just need to know what’s going on. Building ways to cultivate our relationships, letting our community know what’s going on, and how they can help us and how we can help them are critical touch points.
When people hear Hoyleton, they automatically think foster care or residential care, they don’t really know all the additional services, and I think it’s essential that we let them know that we’re a large, well-rounded organization that’s continuing to grow. Additionally, because we are in so many counties across the state, we’re thinking of how we can best serve them from north to south and east to west. I think that’s going to be a big opportunity for us, and it will be exciting to explore the best ways to do that.
Welcome to the team, Stephanie. We’re delighted you found your perfect role.