Updated: Dec 14, 2020
“That moment when a child begins to trust me has always been the most meaningful moment for me… and trust is the most costly gift a foster kid will give.”
“Now that we have a medically fragile child, I have fears that he will die in his sleep. There are so many fears in fostering, but the kids need us, so we press on.”
How many kids have you had through your home?
We have fostered 29 kids – 8 as long-term placements and 21 for short-term respite.
Have you adopted any kids?
We adopted our three girls in 2016, giving us a total of 6 wonderful kids.
What do you want people to know about the kids you’ve fostered?
They have all been so unique – varying in age, ability, background, time spent with us, and time spent in the system. Yet, without exception, they all sought parental care from us, wanting to know they were safe and loved in our home. Nearly every action, word, rebellion, or gift asked, “Am I okay to feel secure here?”
What do you want people to know about kids in foster care?
My daughters say to tell you that kids in care are all super cute.
I can’t argue with that. Whatever else is true about them, they are kids. They need what kids need: love, boundaries, and to know that someone is looking out for them. So many of them have experienced traumas that we wouldn’t wish on an enemy, let alone our children. They need time to heal and a safe place to deal with their pain.
Why and what helped you decide to become a foster family?
We knew families who had fostered and adopted, so when God blessed us with a house that had extra bedrooms, we decided to step into fostering.
What has been the loneliest part of the fostering journey?
I think it has been difficult to parent foster kids in the unique way that they need parented under the close oversight of family and friends and the church. Not many people understand why or how we need to love and guide foster kids in different ways than they would parent their own kids.
What has been the most rewarding, meaningful or exciting part of the journey?
That moment when a child begins to trust me has always been the most meaningful moment for me.
The first time they accept loving correction without fear of rejection or abuse, the first time they offer appropriate affection, or even when they try a new food because I tell them it is good – these are all very exciting signs of trust, and trust is the most costly gift a foster kid will give.
If this peaks your interest in becoming a foster parent, call us @ 937-335-3701, email us, check out our licensing website, and/or begin filling out the below application.
What have been and are some of your biggest fears with fostering?
When we started, I had fear that our foster kids would lie about us, triggering an investigation that could put our biological kids at risk of being removed. I am a rule follower, so I had a lot of fears about doing things the wrong way or forgetting to document something and having foster kids removed.
Now that we have a medically fragile child, I have fears that he will die in his sleep. There are so many fears in fostering, but the kids need us, so we press on.
Do you have a support system? If not, would you like a Care Community?
I definitely have people who will pray for me and encourage me. Our foster son is very high needs, so we don’t have anyone willing to take him for respite or even the day.
We don’t have any dependable, regular, physical support. I would love that, but I don’t have the time or energy to develop it.
If you are interested in learning about, forming, or joining a Care Community at your church, click here to learn more.
What have you gained throughout your fostering journey?
Most notably, we gained three daughters. We gained family. We gained love. We gained respect for caseworkers and judges and families who are struggling. I gained more medical knowledge than I ever dreamed I might have.
We watched our bio kids grow and give and love in ways that amazed us.
The More Than Enough (MTE) Photography Team is Shooting & Sharing Stories of Foster Families until there is More Than Enough families waiting for kids rather than kids waiting for families in the Miami Valley. For the Kids, we hope you lean in to foster or support foster families.
Until There's More Than Enough,
MTE Photo Team
What have you done internally, within yourself, to accommodate and be with a child?
Personally, I have overcome all sorts of “I-could-nevers” to foster all of our kids.
When I started, I said I could never handle a kid over the age of 5 – too much anger and too many trust issues for me to overcome. I needed to be loved. I thought I could never deal with severe medical issues – I’m squeamish, wimpy, and can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. I needed to be comfortable. God has used fostering to show me that I need Him, and love and comfort (along with safety, a good reputation, public approval, and myriad other things I cherished) are nice to have, but not necessary.
What else? What question didn’t we ask? What else do you want to share or is on the top of your mind?
This has been a life changing endeavor for our family, and I am so glad that we decided to pursue fostering. We have cried so much, laughed so much, and grown so very much. There are still days that I ask, “What were we thinking?” but I know that God brought us to fostering, and He will sustain us through it.
If you're interested in becoming a foster parent, call us @ 937-335-3701, email us, check out our licensing website, and/or begin filling out the below application.
We'll guide you into an amazing journey alongside a beautiful community.
We are working until there is More Than Enough families to care for the 1,000 kids in our region who need us.
And on behalf of all kids in foster care (440K), those who are available for adoption (100K) and those kids who age-out every year (10K), thank you from the bottom-of-our-hearts for reading and sharing these stories.
Until There's More Than Enough,
MTE Photo Team
MORE ABOUT THE DIMMICKS BELOW
What have you done externally to your home and life to accommodate a child?
We bought a trampoline and swing and hammock and inflatable pool. We replaced all of the toys that we had just gotten rid of because our bio kids had outgrown them. We bought gates and cameras and beds and dressers and a 12 passenger van. Then, we bought an eight passenger minivan for shorter outings. Then, we bought a hybrid hatchback car so that we could fit a wheelchair in the back and still afford gas to drive to Dayton Children’s Hospital three times a week. Each time, I asked, “Are we seriously getting a different vehicle to accommodate kids that aren’t even permanently ours?”
Just this month, I designed a changing/supply/equipment station to hold medical supplies. It sits in my dining room. Oh, we bought a 14 person dining room table! When I say that we gave up life as we knew it, I am not exaggerating. Everything is different.
When you hear the statistic that 50% of foster families quit within the first year, what does that make you think of?
I think there are several things working against new foster parents:
First, it is a lot harder than any of us think it will be. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to work within the system while still doing what is best for the kids.
Secondly, I think too many people start fostering as a means to grow their family. This does happen in fostering, as we found out, but it is not a given, and it is not fast. It can be disappointing to start fostering with the hopes of adopting a baby and to have those hopes be unmet for years.
Finally, the mess of the system can be overwhelming. I’m not sure any of our placements or respites were accurately described to us. Caseworkers can be hard to contact, school registration and doctor’s visits are huge endeavors, and things move so very slowly. Justice is hard to find, and the weight of having full responsibility for a traumatized child without having any real authority to make things happen for that child is difficult.
Why would you want some people to foster and others not to?
I think that fostering for what it can bring you (family, income, the feeling of making a difference) is dangerous. We can’t bring kids who have been traumatized into our homes because we expect them to fill some sort of need that we have. I see parents who foster for this reason burn out quickly. Fostering needs to be done out of a love for kids and a heart of service to God. That is the only thing that has allowed us to persevere when we encounter the pains of fostering.
How does the foster care system make you feel?
Insufficient. Sometimes angry. Sometimes frustrated. But always, I feel thankful that God led us to this and lets us be a part of the lives of so many people – parents, caseworkers, even doctors, and especially kids – that we would have never known otherwise
What guidance or advice would you like to give those who are considering becoming foster parents?
Be a part of a good church. Befriend other foster parents. Hold loosely to your expectations and cling to Jesus. (Hey, that’s the advice I’d give anyone about anything!) Start with kids younger than your kids, but don’t wait until your kids are grown to start. It will take more time/energy than you think, but hang in there.
What have you given throughout your fostering journey?
Life as we once knew it is long gone. If it weren’t for fostering and adoption, we would be empty nesters now! Instead, we have four kids still at home ranging from 3-13! We gave up peace and quiet. We gave up so many selfish pursuits. We gave up the freedom to go where we want when we want.
We gave time, money, tears, sleep. We gave our hearts. We gave our family. We gave ourselves.