Our Foster Care Story (so far…)
My husband Brandon and I have always wanted a large family, and we both agreed we would eventually adopt. That was always the plan—it’s funny how things change.
The change all started five years ago when a friend introduced me to the brand-new organization With Love. A group of our friends headed over to the founder’s home and sorted through adorable kids’ clothing, separating them into correct sizes, and wrapping them with ribbon into cute little bundles. These bundles of clothes were heading out the door to children in foster care. I immediately fell in love with the organization and found ways to get more involved: washing laundry, leading volunteer shifts, joining the board, handing out bundles and other goodies at Foster Parent Night Out and (my favorite) deal-hunting for brand-new clothing!
Over the course of the last five years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the most adorable foster kids and the amazing families who love and provide for them. I’ve heard countless stories and learned about the massive need for good foster homes in the Portland area. Over time, my heart warmed to the idea of stepping into foster care. My husband was on board, and after nine months of paperwork, background checks, hours of certification classes and a home study, we were “emergency certified” as a foster family in April 2018.
We knew about the great need for foster families in Portland, so we assumed that DHS would call right away. But because of our biological children’s ages (6, 4 and 2), we’re only able to take children from infancy through 24 months. Though there is a need for foster homes to take in babies, they are generally easier to place than older children and teens.
After waiting three weeks, our first call came. Another foster family had taken in a sibling group of four children under the age of five, but they needed a break! DHS placed two of the siblings (ages four and 10 months) with us for two weeks. That was without a doubt the craziest two weeks of our lives. The very first night, the sweet four-year-old got a stomach bug, which of course, made its way through the rest of our home (yep, all seven of us) within that two-week period. I’ve never done so much laundry in my life! Despite the illness, those two weeks were a great learning experience for us and a chance to dip our toes into the water of foster care.
Then, we waited some more. On June 14, we received another call and said yes to the two sweetest babies—one a newborn straight from the hospital, the other, a tender, snuggly 15-month-old with a contagious smile. They instantly fit in with our family, despite the lack of sleep and the stress of getting five children under the age of 7 dressed and buckled into car seats.
Along with these sweet babies came appointments. So. Many. Appointments. Court calls, medical and dental visits, behavioral and learning assessments, attorney meetings and visits with the biological parents. We were completely unprepared for all of it. The hardest part for me is witnessing the emotional toll foster care takes on the kids. Hearing their background stories is heartbreaking, and it is daunting to think about the potential life-long effects their trauma will have on them. But for even a short time, we know they are safe, content, thriving and loved. And our family is honored to have been a part of their story.
Brandon and I still hope to adopt someday, but for now, “the plan” is to be the best foster family we can to precious little ones in foster care.
- Becky B