Alabama Foster Parents #CareThroughCOVID: Anita Snow and Alan Tidwell

July 02, 2020

Anita Snow & Alan Tidwell

Gateway Foster Parents

Anita Snow and Allen Tidwell have been Gateway foster parents for five years, and they continue to serve children during COVID-19. They embody Gateway’s mission as game changers for children and families, going above and beyond to meet the emotional, educational and physical needs of the kids in their home.

Beyond the walls of her loving home, Anita and Allen continuously provide unconditional support for children in all they do. Anita is also a paraprofessional at the Burkett Center, a school for children with autism and special needs. In addition, she is pursuing her special education degree!

Find out more about Anita and Allen’s extraordinary service as foster parents – from their first year when they received the “New Foster Parents of the Year” award to today's unprecedented times.

Why are you foster parents?

We have a great love for children and want to give love to children in need. Gateway allows us to make a difference in the lives of foster youth who deserve loving homes.

What has it been like caring for your foster child through COVID-19?

We have been fortunate that, for us, we have continued to live our life as we do most of the time. Like most, our day to day looks a little different as the children are home from school and we have been home for work. However, it has been helpful to create and stick to routines as much as possible.

Two of our children in our home have Autism, so routines are extremely important. Though they both do very well with changes in a routine, we still try our best to help stick to a regular pattern. We have found it really helpful to use a picture schedule in our home which has helped them to learn it by heart to where no matter if we are home or are away camping, they have done the same routine enough that they can stick to it.

What are your tips for routines through COVID-19?

A glimpse of how we have altered our day to day to effectively keep on tack with activities through the pandemic can be seen in the schedule below!

Our days look like this:

· Wake Up Routine
· Breakfast 
· Home School 
· Tablet Time 
· Lunch 
· Outdoor Activities 
· Dinner 
· Bedtime Routine
As you can see, one thing we try to focus on despite the children spending more time at home through the pandemic is to not allow an excess of technology or TV. Throughout the day between school work and chores, they earn any-where from 15 to 30 minutes of technology. In addition, they also earn special snacks and treats as well to encourage keeping a balanced diet!  

Incorporating a daily schedule, especially for our children with special needs, has helped tremendously in providing a sense of normalcy in #CaringThroughCOVID

What is one thing you have learned from your foster child or foster parent experience?

Though we had heard it before, we have really learned that everyone has a story and that every child is different. Each child has their own unique hobbies, personalities and needs, but we have found it especially true throughout our time as foster parents.

What is a piece of advice you would share with someone thinking about becoming a foster parent?

Children in foster care present a unique set of needs. Each has their own set of challenges they are overcoming and it is your role to help them through that process. It is not always easy, and you have to completed dedicated to helping meet their needs, but they are absolutely worth it. You just have to be 100% in it. 

Anything else you would like to share?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to use your social worker and the resources provided. It is also really important to take time for you so you can be there for the kids you accept in to your home. 

Join us in celebrating Anita and Alan for their service!

Thank you to Anita Snow and Alan Tidwell for the positive difference they make in the lives of foster children and families. Please join us in honoring them for their unwavering service and providing #CareThroughCOVID. 

Are you interested in becoming a foster parent? Click here to find out more information.

Anita snow and Alan Tidwell with foster youth at Gateway's Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner. They won the highest award (pictured here): Foster Parent(s) of the Year!