We are excited to share with our family and friends that we are in the process of becoming licensed Foster Parents for children ages 0-6 with the possibility of an additional sibling. It means so much to us to have supportive family, friends, church family, and co-workers. We want to help everyone get a grasp on what Foster Care is, why we have made this decision for our family, and what to expect in the future. Many of you will be a part of our future children’s lives and we appreciate you taking the time to hear about our journey of becoming Foster Parents.
- There are about 400,000 children in the foster care in the United States. In Michigan alone, there are around 14,000 children in need of a loving and safe home.
- Every 120 seconds a child is removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect.
- Only 50% of foster children will graduate high school and only 3% will graduate college.
- Foster children are diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) at twice the rate of U.S War Veterans.
- Over 20% of foster youth will be homeless within two years of turning 18.
Our prayer is that by opening our home and our hearts to vulnerable children we can enable them to beat the numbers.
Foster Care has never been a part of our plan. But, we’ve learned that many of the best things in life are the ones you don’t plan for. We never planned on opening our home and our hearts to the vulnerable children in our community. We never anticipated the first time we would rock a baby to sleep or pick up a child from school, that child would actually be someone else’s. We never planned on giving our time, energy and money to see neglected and abused children be restored and made whole. And most of all, we never imagined that our goal would be to one day say goodbye to these children.
Foster Care is unique. It is different from adoption in that instead of choosing and getting to keep a child as a part of your family, your family serves as a temporary home for a child in need with the hope that their parents are able to take the necessary steps to be reunited in the future. At it’s core, it is about building strong families…just not always your own family.
No matter what, our desire for each child has been birthed through great prayer and our love for them is continuing to grow in our hearts. This makes every child that comes into our home our very real, loved, chosen, son or daughter for whom we would do or give anything.
This new kind of living was never our plan, but we’re grateful that plans change.
Over the last year as we thought about having our own children we started thinking and praying about what kind of family we wanted to be. What did we want to teach our kids? What would our priorities be? What truth and vision would we choose to live into as a family? These conversations with each other led us to deeper prayer and along the way we not only found our answers, but we found a new way of living.
Our plans have been rearranged. Our desires have been reoriented. Our priorities have shifted. God has given us a new family mission, a greater heart for the neglected and vulnerable, and…two extra bedrooms ❤
OUR FUTURE CHILDREN’S STORIES
Foster care is complicated. For our children, their story will be their’s to share on their own terms when they feel safe and comfortable. You will be tempted to ask us and our future children about their past (and their future) and we won’t be able to share many details. It will be difficult for all of us to even imagine the pain and suffering each child has experienced. But our job is not to play therapist, our job is to be a family. Regardless of how our children’s stories began, we believe that we can play a crucial role in how it continues and we are eager to help them write their own future.
As followers of Jesus, we are convinced that it is His plan to have His people care for the widows, orphans and neglected people that are in our communities and around the world. We are absolutely sure that we’ve been given the gift of a safe home, a strong, healthy marriage, and a supportive and loving tribe of family and friends for this very reason. The gift of all these things drives us with passion to enter into this painful and challenging part of our community.
We believe strongly that becoming Foster Parents is not a call to get children for our family, but rather to give our family for the sake of as many children as we possibly can.
Our vision is not for our home to be a stopping place for these children but rather a resting place, a refuge, as the pieces of their lives fall back into place. We hope to continue this new way of living as long as we can, whether it means welcoming in two children or twelve children over the coming years. In fact, our hope is to one day be able to open our home to older foster youth between the ages of 10-16.
FAQ’S: YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS & WE’VE GOT ANSWERS…MOSTLY
We realize that everyone has different knowledge on the subject of Foster Care and want to help each of you learn what it means to be a part of this with us. With that in mind, here are answers to some questions you might have:
- SO, WHERE ARE YOU IN THE PROCESS?
We have completed orientation, most of our parenting training, and the biggest stack of paperwork we’ve ever had to fill out. We’ve filled out form after form about our marriage, our schedule, our childhood, our finances, and the kind of parents we hope to be. Our agency now knows everything from what we buy at the grocery store to how we solve arguments. We have one more visit that will take place at the beginning of November before our home study is sent to Lansing. After that, we wait. Eventually we will get word that our license has been approved and we expect to have a placement soon after that. There is a good chance we could be starting the new year with a new family member!
- WILL YOU BE HAVING A FOSTER CARE SHOWER?
We will not be having a shower before our first placement. However, our awesome family and friends have asked us to put together a Registry for those who would like to be a part of this new adventure. You can find our list by clicking —> HERE. At this point, we don’t know the age or number of children we will have in our home to begin with so we are getting two bedrooms set up. Age specific items will be purchased after we meet our first foster child so you won’t see things like clothes, bottles, or toys on our list. But what kid doesn’t want a cool room, a warm bed, and a stuffed animal to snuggle up with?
- WHAT WILL YOUR FOSTER CHILDREN BE LIKE?
We wish we could tell you! All we know at this time is that our first placement will be a child (or pair of siblings) ages 0-6, of any ethnicity, and either gender. Unfortunately, because of the nature of Foster Care, placements often happen with little warning once children are removed from their homes. This means that we are preparing our home and our hearts for children we probably won’t meet until they arrive at our door. What we can tell you is that every child who stays in our home will be a victim of past abuse and/or neglect. Each one will have a story we may never fully know and will come to us with many emotional, mental and even physical wounds. We believe that we don’t need to know the beginning of their story to help change the ending and we are committed to helping them and their families be restored.
- HOW LONG WILL THE KIDS BE WITH YOU?
The goal of Foster Care is to reunite children with their biological family members once it is safe and within the child’s best interest as determined by the state. Families who have had children removed from their care are often struggling with very serious things like untreated mental health issues, substance abuse, homelessness, anger problems, abuse accusations, or no income. These problems cannot be solved overnight. When a child comes into Foster Care, a team of dedicated social workers and case managers work together with the birth parent/parents to establish an action plan that will help them be reunited with their child. This process can take a long time and in the meantime we will be caring for these children while they have limited family visits. Placements in Foster Care can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, although the average is 15 months. Whether our foster children are with us for weeks, months, or years, to us they will be our real, loved, and chosen sons and daughters – no matter who they call mom and dad.
- BUT DON’T YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR OWN CHILDREN?
Yes, we do! Becoming Foster Parents is not a replacement for having our own children. For us it is a both/and. We are excited to give our family for these children and we look forward to one day raising our biological children to share in this mission and to have a heart for helping those in need.
- ARE YOU GOING TO ADOPT?
Our desire and goal throughout this whole process will be reunification. We want to see children growing up in safe, healthy homes with their biological families. However, there are times when reunification is not possible or isn’t what is best for the child. In these cases, if the birth parents rights are terminated, and no extended family wants or is able to adopt, foster parents would have the opportunity for adoption. While this isn’t our goal, it would be a joy to give a permanent home for a child in the future.
- HOW CAN I HELP?
- If you’re a praying person, please pray for us. This has been an emotionally stretching process, and the hard part hasn’t even started yet. Please pray that we would continue to endure this long process with joy and hope for what the future holds. Pray that God would continue to speak to us and reveal how we are to give ourselves for these children and their families. Pray for more foster parents to rise up and choose this new way of life. Most of all though, would you pray for the children who right now are daily experiencing suffering, neglect and abuse? You don’t know their faces or their names, but they are there…on your street, in your child’s school, at the grocery store, in every state, and in every country. Our hearts have been softened to recognize this need and we pray that yours will be as well.
- If you are a friend/family member, please don’t walk away from us. It may seem like a desperate plea, and that’s because it is. There is both a beauty and a brokenness to be witnessed in Foster Care and you, as someone close to us, will undoubtedly witness both. When the brokenness rears its ugly head, can you please commit to sticking with us? We will struggle in our role as new parents, we will be heartbroken when it’s time to say goodbye and we will be bringing children into our relationships with you that will have more baggage and issues than many grown adults. They will struggle, we will struggle, and you will witness it. When you do, please don’t go anywhere. Your presence, your friendship, your support, and your understanding will be as precious as gold to us.
- If you are able to, please consider helping us prepare ourselves and our home for this next big adventure! As with any new child, there are financial needs that can be burdensome. Unlike someone having a child naturally, we are preparing our home not just for one child but for several over the course of the next few years. We are preparing two rooms at the moment since we will be licensed to receive sibling pairs which makes our prep time and spending double. In addition, there are several requirements that need to be met in order for us to get our license. If you would like to invest in this next part of our journey and help us prepare a welcoming place for our future foster children to live you can find the link to our Foster Care Registry —> HERE
- The list is broken down in 5 categories:
- 1. Urgent Items Needed by beginning of November to complete home study *UPDATE 10/31 – All state required items have been purchased/gifted. Thank you!*
- 2. Items Needed for Nursery Room (Age 0-3)
- 3. Items Needed for Kid’s Room (Age 4-6)
- 4. General Toys & Books
- 5. Items for Family/Parents
- HOW CAN I HELP?
If you have any questions, feel free to ask and we will post frequently to keep you in the loop. Thank you for loving us and playing a role in our lives so that we can hopefully impact the lives of families in our community.
Josh and Hannah