This week's foster parent spotlight is a member of our own team: Melissa Brown! Here is her family's story of foster care and adoption.
1) How did you hear about fostering?
Through an informational meeting presented by The Call at our church.
2) What was the process like becoming a foster parent?
It was time consuming and confusing. It seemed as if the paperwork required was unending and at times very redundant. It is a very long process. We know of several people that gave up on getting open due to the process taking so long. Patience and understanding with the process of opening is vital.
3) Were you ever interested in adoption?
Even though we have adopted 2 children from foster care, we never became foster parents with the intention to adopt. But when you love the foster children that come into your care the way you should, adoption isn’t that hard of a decision to make when the opportunity presents itself.
4) Did your foster children come to you with bags or belongings?
The children we have fostered have never came to us with any personal belongings. Anything that they have had when they come into our care has been provided by DHS. These items have mainly been things like car seats, diapers, or clothing. We have also received help with needed items from The Call and our amazing support system.
5) What advice do you have for someone considering fostering?
Fostering requires lots of work and patience. You have a lot of added responsibility to take care of, not just in providing children in your care with the love and attention they deserve, but also meeting all the necessary requirements from the state and court system. Training hours, inspections, paperwork, doctors appointments, court dates, visitations, and other unexpected things happen. Patience and understanding of the importance of why you are doing what you are doing in the first place is a must. These children all deserve every bit of these sacrifices.
6) What kind of support was most helpful to you? How can people volunteer in a tangible way?
Support for fostering comes in many forms. Organizations such as The Call, who help with navigating the process of becoming foster parents, and providing continuing support, to our family, also friends, church family, and other individuals that provide support to us by helping with things such as respite care and date nights, and at times even emotional support, all play a vital role. Without the help of many, fostering would be impossible. Little things or big things are all equally important. It truly takes a village.