I'd like to talk to you about your car's extended warranty! (jokes)
May is National Foster Care Awareness month, and with it coming to an end, I'd thought I would share my family's foster story.
My wife, Erin, and I always thought we would probably have some kiddos at some point and we kicked around the idea of adopting rather than making them the old fashioned way. I pulled a number off a flyer at Demolition Coffee in Petersburg while I was shooting a story down that way. Next thing you know, we were signed up for classes and a nice lady came to our house and we worked through the course to become certified by the state of Virginia to be foster parents. And if they let ME do it, anyone can do it.
Our first placement came in the Spring of 2017, a spritely nine year old boy who liked video games and heavy metal. He was in our home for just a couple months before he left. That was very hard. He is still in the foster care system waiting for a forever home and every once in a while I check the website and still see him there, it breaks my heart.
After him, we did respite care for these two sisters who were around 10, 11, 12 year old. They were delightful and we got along with them very well and at one point it looked like we were going to adopt them. So we got our house all ready and we started nesting and preparing for the rest of our lives with them, and that all fell through. Another heartbreaking moment, but their foster family ended up adopting them which is really fantastic.
We took a little time to heal our hearts after that but eventually we got that phone call that foster families get. A nine year old girl and her 18 month old little brother. We met them and I remember the boy was playing with toys and the girl was coloring. Erin tells the story that when we first saw them in the waiting room of the Department of Social Services, she knew those were her kids and that she knew she was going to be their Mommy.
So we watched them one weekend. Went to the VMFA. And then one day we picked them up and the rest of our lives began. They moved in and we got used to each other and there they were; we had kids! They eventually became eligible for adoption and about 15 months later we went before a judge and they took our last name and our family was complete. Those are our kids. It's now 2023, they're 14 and six.
It's a strange thing to think about but, I always tell people who are thinking of having kids; your kids may already be out there. Our kids were already out there and they were just waiting for us and we were waiting for them.
The need out there is almost unfathomable with 700 to 1,000 kids in Virginia eligible for adoption right now! Through no fault of their own. They did not ask to be born into the situation that brought them to where they are. They did not ask for this trauma. This is where it takes a village. This is where community comes in.
If you're thinking about being a Mommy or being a Daddy, there are children out there who would love to call you Mommy, would love to call you Daddy. They need someone to let them know that they're safe, they're loved, they're cared for and that they matter. Maybe you're a little older and your kids have moved out and you have a couple empty bedrooms. There are teenagers who would love to occupy those rooms and be a part of your family. They're out there and they're waiting for you.
I couldn't imagine my life without my kids. Almost on a daily basis, the six year old will say something and Erin will turn to me and say "that's your kid."
Your children may already be out there. Consider being a foster parent. Consider fostering to adopt.
OK. That's my pitch. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk!
Visit FosterVA.comfor more information.
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