by James and Betsy
Our family has two precious children, Susannah and John, who we adopted as infants. They are now both young adults, but were in foster care for the first four months of their lives. We’re so grateful for the care they received before we brought them into our home!
Why did we adopt? It’s simple, we had one biological child, but felt we had the capacity to love and provide for more children even if they weren’t our biological children. There’s a great need for loving families for children in foster care, and if you love and want children, adoption is a worthwhile option to consider. We found adoption to be an excellent investment of our time and resources. Perhaps one family’s mission is to foster, and another’s is to foster to adopt, but we were blessed to experience both.
Years after we adopted we decided to become foster parents. After thorough training from our local agency, we felt prepared and excited for the journey ahead. For the next five years, children from the ages of three to eighteen came into our home for various periods of time, sometimes a month, and sometimes several years. At any one time, we were fostering up to four children. Needless to say, our house was bright and bustling with the sounds of happy children!
Many of the children who came into our home had faced traumatic situations, but the agency we worked with was very helpful and provided excellent support whenever we needed it.
In our experience, fostering older children before deciding to adopt is very helpful because it allows you to understand any trauma that they may have experienced. It’s also a good idea to consult with other children in your home before deciding to adopt. As a foster parent, you’re going to have to give up some of your privacy, your patience and unconditional love will be tested, and, unfortunately, there’s even the possibility that the child’s needs are beyond the care you are able to provide. There is a strong element of sacrifice. But ultimately, the love and warmth that come from opening your heart and home to a child in need far outweighs the tough times.
Be prepared to include them in your own family, love them like your own children, celebrate their birthdays and achievements, weep with them when they hurt, comfort, counsel, and encourage them. It takes a lot of focus to foster. They need a lot of love and compassion, for their home and family situation is not their fault. We have helped some of our foster children get jobs and prepare them for the future, whether transitioning to another foster home or into adulthood and living on their own. Each and every foster child we’ve had in our home is always on our minds. The love and attachment is undeniable. Even our children got along very well and became friends with many of the children we fostered.
We think opening your home to children who need love and a family is one of the best things one can do in life. It was a great experience for our own children to see their parents love and open their home to others in need. Adoption or fostering provides an excellent opportunity to give back and cultivate an open, loving, sacrificial heart. Most importantly, becoming a foster or adoptive parent is one of the most rewarding experiences we could have ever dreamed of.