Every family’s journey to foster looks different. The way that individuals and families discover and commit to the role they can play in children and families lives is as varied as the families themselves.
This family’s journey into foster care was unexpected. When a private planned adoption didn’t take place, Joey and Jen felt deep loss. “It was a devastating loss” Jennifer said. While they began fostering with the intentions of adoption, they quickly learned that the goal of foster care is initially reunification, a family restored.
We saw the great need for foster parents and decided at that time that whether we ever ended up adopting through foster care, we wanted fostering to be a part of our lives for a long time and we wanted our children to learn to love others and realize that the world is much bigger than them.
Licensed in the summer of 2016, they soon welcomed a young boy into their home, making them a family of 6. Jen and Joey have three other children, Claudia, Gus, and Rayf. They describe their home as pretty loud and a little crazy, but also say they are plenty warm and fun! They love being outdoors, taking trips together and just being a family. Joey is a small business owner and Jen is a mortgage officer. A busy team. This family proves that if something really matters to you, you make it work!
Jen is completely honest that originally the idea of children coming and going inside their home while they still wanted to grow their family made them hesitate. This desire to add permanently to their family is tender. An anticipated adoption that didn’t happen felt like loss. The grief remains. She said “while we still want to grow our family, the hope of adoption is no longer the reason we are fostering now. We are doing it because there is such a great need.”
Foster care is full of both joy and pain. Certainly it is not the easy choice. There is disruption, uncertainty and stress that comes with fostering. But this family’s faith challenges them to look beyond themselves to the children and family who are experiencing pain and loss. They note that John 15:13 is one of their guiding scriptures; “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” It may not be easy, but it is certainly worth it. There is beauty and joy that comes with walking alongside a child (and their family when possible) in their pain, and believing and hoping for redemption, beauty from ashes.