A Special Calling
Amy R. does not see herself as extraordinary as the mother of eight children. She says that she had always wanted to have an even dozen, but, after having five biological sons, she and her husband decided to grow their family through foster parenting and adoption. The couple has been fostering a five-year-old boy through KidsPeace for two years and hopes to eventually adopt him, but the newest additions to the family are two siblings they met at church and grew to love. Two families from the church who are very close friends of Amy and her husband became attached to two of the other siblings and decided that they wanted to adopt them as well. Already a foster parent through the KidsPeace foster care office in Doylestown, PA, Amy brought her friends to KidsPeace to become certified as foster parents. The incentive to have these children as members of their families motivated these parents to quickly process their paperwork and begin the required classes immediately. A third family in the community met and fell in love with the fifth sibling and started the process at the same time.
“We had come to know these five wonderful children at church and we could see that their grandparents were really overwhelmed by suddenly having five kids to care for. Two of the families are close friends from church, and the third family got to know the children because the mother had been a mobile therapist and knew one of the boys and really wanted him to become part of her family. We started by taking the kids on weekends to get them comfortable with us and to help out the grandparents. These children fit into each of our families so well that it was just amazing. We couldn’t wait to make them permanent members of our lives.”
The four mothers get together monthly for a “Mom’s lunch” where they advise each other and share in the triumphs and help out through the rough spots. They are a very helpful support group for each other and have a strong bond through these very special children. The families celebrate the siblings’ birthdays together as well as other holidays. Four of the children see each other every Sunday at church, and all five are very close to each other. Their confidence levels have increased significantly, according to Amy, since they each have forever families to love and nurture them. Amy adopted the 10-year-old boy and the 13-year-old girl, with her new daughter being the only girl among her eight children.
The siblings are all following their own paths, exploring music, sports, art, horseback riding and activities at the YMCA. Her newly adopted daughter is 13 and her new son is 10, and both have come a long way since moving in with their new family. “Our son has overcome some learning gaps he had and has become more independent and focused in terms of schoolwork. He has done so well emotionally,” Amy says, “and now he has really turned himself around academically, so he is happy in all aspects of his life.”
Amy teaches courses at the YMCA when her husband is home with the kids, and she enjoys her work very much. She teaches CPR, first aid and child abuse prevention on a flexible schedule that suits her very busy lifestyle. Realistically, this family will probably have to wait to take in more children until the older boys are more grown up. She definitely wants to foster more children who are a bit older. “I told KidsPeace that I want them walking, talking and potty trained,” Amy laughs. Her husband is just as committed to their growing family and enjoys co-parenting with Amy and spending time with their wonderful children.
Amy and her friends are great examples of the fact that there are no “typical” foster parents. The families are very different, but each shares a deep love of children and a desire to keep this special sibling group as close as possible. Although they all chose to adopt, many other families prefer to care for a child in his or her time of greatest need and then help prepare that child to either return home or to be adopted by a “forever family.” Whereas Amy has several children, many foster parents have no children and want to share their homes and hearts with special kids in need. Some prefer to provide respite care for other foster families, while others enjoy working with teens, and still others find joy in fostering medically fragile or developmentally delayed infants and toddlers. Foster parenting is truly a calling, and there are special children waiting for adults to love and encourage and give them a chance to grow up in peace and safety.
There are many children available for foster care and adoption with and without special needs. If you would like more information on what it takes to become a foster parent CLICK HERE, or make direct contact with the local office in the area where you seek to place the child.