May is National Foster Care Month, so we’re sharing stories of our foster parents’ journeys. If you’re interested in becoming a foster family, visit our foster care page. And if you want to help us spread the word about our need for foster homes, visit our Foster Care Month page.
My husband and I had thought about becoming foster parents for quite some time. We had always kind of envisioned that we would have our own family first, but since that didn’t seem to be panning out, we starting considering more diligently if foster parenting was something we could really do. It was about this time last year that we sat down with Denise and I explained all of the reasons why I thought we should NOT be foster parents: We both work full time, we don’t make very much money, we have a small house, we have busy schedules, and perhaps most importantly – my parents are about to move out of town!! One by one, Denise politely shot down our concerns and explained that what was really needed for the kids who come into care was safety, routine and most of all, love. And so we were out of excuses and before we knew it, we had completed the requirements and were approved as foster parents.
Our foster child came to us in September, one week after we returned from a trip to Ecuador, and only 2 days after recovering from a case of Montezuma’s Revenge. To say that we were not fully prepared for the adorable 2-year-old boy that came to our home, is probably an understatement. Those first couple of days are a blur – we found a daycare and went to doctor’s appointments, we googled and googled and googled trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing and when. During the first nights, our little boy woke up every few hours crying, undoubtedly frightened and confused – there were many times that we felt like joining him. On one of those early days, our United Methodist Children’s Home social worker returned with clothes and diapers and baby-things (that we again had to google) – many of them from Angel Shoppers from Decatur First UMC. It meant SO much to know that a) this kid was going to have some pants to wear for the next few days and b) that somewhere out there, were strangers who were thinking of and praying for us in this process.
We had a similar experience at Christmas time. As many of you know, the Methodist Children’s Home accepts gifts and donations to help make Christmas extra-special for children in foster care. When I walked in to the dining hall and saw all of the clothes and toys, I felt so overwhelmed by the love and generosity of so many strangers. It was just an amazingly touching experience – and one that meant so much to first-time foster parents.
Last week, after being with us for 7 months, our foster child went home. I never would have imagined that I could love someone else’s child so much. But I feel extremely optimistic about his future and I feel extremely grateful for this experience. It has changed me forever, for the better.
So I guess my purpose here is two-fold. First I want to thank you – for your support to myself and to other foster parents. Your love and prayers and generosity really do touch so many lives. Secondly, I want to urge you to continue in your generosity. If you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent – do it. If you’re thinking about becoming volunteer – do it. If you are thinking about giving time or money or other resources – do it with the knowledge that it is both needed and appreciated.
A wise man once said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ( John Wesley)