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This Virginia couple lost 3 pregnancies. How they then became 'stepping stones' for kids in need

Brittany Jirik: 'Not a lot of people are exposed to the need'
Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 14, 2023

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Hanover County is seeing an unusually high need for foster parents, according to the Department of Social Services.

Family services specialist Matthew Eakin stated it’s the largest pool of children in foster care in his 14 years on the job.

They’ve been specifically having challenges finding homes for older children entering foster care.

He attributed the increase in the number of children in need to financial and emotional stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the number of families dealing with substance use issues.

Izak and Brittany Jirik
Izak and Brittany Jirik

Brittany and Izak Jirik heard about the need.

After the couple endured three lost pregnancies, they explored their options to starting a family.

“Not a lot of people are exposed to the need," Brittany said. "We know fostering and adopting is a totally different journey, but we felt like we had the ability to be the stepping stones for kids who need it."

Hanover County's foster parent training program
Hanover County's foster parent training program

They then enrolled in Hanover County's foster parent training program.

The programs help prepare and educate families on trauma training, child development, relationship building, and other requirements helpful to become a foster parent.

The Jiriks said the training was not difficult and through the multi-week courses, their desire to dedicate their lives to becoming a foster family strengthened.

Brittany said it's been eye-opening to see the difference foster families can make on children in need of a stable family structure.

“I think it’s so unfair for some of these kids to be going through what they are going through and the cards they are dealt and the brokenness they see,” she said.

Izak and Brittany Jirik
Izak and Brittany Jirik

The Jiriks hope other families will join them in making a difference in their community.

“To be a part of the good and light and in that avenue to promote growth and see acceleration after that,” she said.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you are encouraged to join the Virginia Faster Families Highway. This portal created, by the State Department of Social Services, is a way for prospective foster parents to provide personal information, complete self-assessments, and learn more about what it means to be a foster parent.

For more information or to sign up for a training session, contact Devon S. Parham at 804-365-4135 or dsparham@hanovercounty.gov.

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