Grant and Leanne Barnett had their heart into fostering for many years, and as their family increased so did their desire. In 2016, they felt that God was guiding them to start their process into fostering and they followed that call. They had a bedroom available and plenty of space outside of their home where kids could run and play. After successfully completing their training, they were ready to receive their first placement. Not only Grant and Leanne have been caring for their foster children, but also their 4 biological kids have been a wonderful support to them. They have shown empathy, love and kindness towards all the kids that come to live with them.
The moment the Barnetts started fostering, they didn’t know that their true call was towards sibling groups, which is so needed in our county and the State. Many times, when sibling groups come into care, there are not many homes that are available to take all of them together, so most of the times siblings have to be separated from each other, adding distress to an already broken situation.
When the Barnetts took their first sibling group, Leanne noticed how the kids adjusted quicker and easier; even though the situation was not ideal, having a sibling with them brought relief to each other. There was a better response and adjustment to their situation.
They have received sibling groups of two and three children, some placements only a few days, some a couple months and others for over 9 months.
Leanne’s advice to anyone that is considering to foster, is that they need to keep an open mind, the point is not to rescue these kids from their home and fix them, they point is to help them heal, help their family heal and get them back together. Also, if there are biological kids in the home, communication is a huge factor to help everyone adjust and understand different behaviors, discipline and situations. It really brings new perspectives to the kids in the home, it helps them become older brothers or sisters and furthermore, prepare them to become parents by caring for these children coming into their home.
The Call, the community and their church (Hopewell Baptist) has been a big support to this family. When they have a special need or request for a child, either The Call, their church or the community has stepped up and has helped them providing the items necessary to play a sport or special activity from school, even providing a meal or giving them a date night.
Leanne explains how the Happy Ending is seeing her foster children going back home to their family, reunification is the ultimate goal.
They keep contact with most of the children and family of previous placements, it’s so refreshing to receive updates and pictures.