Get ready to be inspired! This family of eleven (yes, ELEVEN!) has so much wisdom and depth to offer about their fostering and adoptive journey.
FGI: What was your motivation to become a foster parent?
Christy: I was raised by my biological parents. They are/were very civically minded individuals. When my sisters and I were younger (I was 12) our parents sat us down and told us we could choose to have foster children live in our home or become a host family for foreign exchange students. We voted. Foster care won. Unanimously. I suppose that moment shaped my life tremendously. After I saw, and knew, and was exposed to children that had different life experiences than I did … where three meals a day was a surprise and a luxury not afforded to many of them, where new clothes were a thing only other people had. When I lived with these humans and saw their struggles and their hurts, there was no going back. One year after my husband and I got married, we had our first foster placement.
FGI: How many children has your family had stay in your home?
Christy: My parents had over 50. My husband and I have had six. Five of them stayed.
FGI: What age children do you foster?
Christy: We didn’t specify.
FGI: What is your favorite thing about the experience so far?
Christy: I began this adventure with unrealistic expectations. I expected to be able to ’save’ children. And maybe we did, to a degree. But, for the most part, these children save us from our selfishness, our greed, our obsession with comfort. My favorite thing has been learning to adapt. Which, if you know me, is not my strong suit. But in this life, it is needed and demanded. You never know who is coming in or out, or how long they will stay, or what they will bring to the family. We MUST adapt to these new situations. And I love that.
FGI: What is your biggest hesitation to foster and how have you overcame it?
Christy: Honestly, it is always how uncomfortable we can be with new people and new circumstances. We went into it knowing that the possibility of children leaving was real. And we knew that it would be hard. We knew that we would be hurt when children left. We overcome these fears with logic. These children need a family. They need stability and direction and discipline and fun. We have the ability and capacity to offer this. And if the only reason to not foster is that it makes us uncomfortable or it is inconvenient, I have come to the conclusion, that those are very bad reasons to resist something that affects another life so profoundly. So we overcame the hesitations by recognizing that our hesitations were based in emotion. And emotion is a very bad decision maker. When faced with injustice, it is our job to act, to do, to protest, to not give up. WE, the grownups, need to get it together. There are lives at stake, and to ignore this is the worst kind of indifference.
FGI: What are you family’s hobbies and interests?
Christy: GAMES. Anything loud. Swimming. Road Trips.
FGI: How would you describe your family’s personality?
Christy: Loud, opinionated, bossy, silly. We are not a group of introverts.
FGI: What are your jobs or careers outside of parenting?
Christy: Nigel is a farmer. I am a mom. And sometimes-foster-family-advocate.
FGI: What are the ages of the children in your home?
Christy: TC-17, Celee-16, Judsen-14, Joseph-14, Mia-12, Corban-10, Asher-6, Auggie-6, Adam-4 (no twins)
FGI: What is a quote from your family that you’d like to share, either one from your actual family members or one that you feel motivated, inspired or empowered by?
Christy: My favorite other-person quote is from Jen Hatmaker: ‘I’m going to bed tonight grateful for warmth, an advantage so expected it barely registers. May my privileges continue to drive me downward to my brothers and sisters without. Greater yet, I’m tired of calling the suffering ‘brothers and sisters’ when I’d never allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise. That’s just hypocrisy veiled in altruism. I won’t defile my blessings by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice.’” –Jen Hatmaker, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
At Fostering Great Ideas, we believe that anyone who can provide a loving and stable home would make a great foster parent. We need diverse foster parents across our nation, just as there are diverse children and youth entering care through no fault of their own. The greatest needs are often for families that will welcome sibling groups and older children or teenagers.
Stepping into foster care can be daunting. But that’s why we are here! We want to help you figure out what your role might be – whether that is fostering, adopting, volunteering, donating, or advocating. Everyone can do something! Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to talk to you!