Thursday, 18 November 2021

A Full House and Full Hearts

Written by Bethany Durham
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The Rice household in Cottonwood, Ariz. is filled to the brim with love. With three biological children, four foster children and one adopted child, Natalie and Corby’s love for foster care and adoption brings a sense of harmony to their home.

Passing on the Gift of Foster Care and Adoption

Natalie, a middle school math teacher, and Corby, a Cottonwood police officer, both grew up around family members who fostered and knew this was a gift they wanted to share. They were the first in their group of friends to become foster parents and encouraged others to share in this joy. Their love for serving kids in need is something they’ve passed onto their own children too, who also want to foster when they grow up.

“Even though it’s hard, the joy that it brings has always been worth it to us. Even when we think our kids have had enough, they still want to bring more kids in,” said Natalie.

Their family composition would be more than enough to challenge most individuals, but Natalie and Corby make it look easy. According to Natalie, being a successful foster parent in such a large household means practicing time management, patience and being willing to sacrifice your time in the best interests of your family.

Embracing Strong Relationships with Biological Parents

Even the challenges of foster care cannot crack the strong foundation of love this family lives upon. One of the most heartbreaking situations Natalie and Corby often face is bonding with a child who must return to his or her parents.

Currently, the family has an 11-year-old that they are planning to reunify with his father. Additionally, they have a three-year-old-boy and are working to find a placement that will allow him to reunify with his brother.

It’s not easy, but it’s one of the sacrifices Natalie and Corby are willing to make. They enjoy developing relationships with biological or adoptive parents and work to stay in touch with the children who have left their home.

“You have to remember you’re doing it for the kids, giving them a safe place. I try to think of each kid as a niece or a nephew of mine. I give them all the love I can but know they’re eventually going to be leaving,” added Corby.

Going Above and Beyond for Their Family

The Rice Family also has two foster children who are siblings, a two-year-old boy and his eight-month-old sister. The sister is medically fragile and has been with the Rices since her release from the hospital at birth. The Rices are in the process of adopting them, always finding time in their schedule to support children who have additional medical or behavioral needs.

Natalie and Corby want to ensure that each child feels like a part of the family. Some of their best memories are taking their kids on vacations to California to see Legoland, Disneyland or the beach. They strive to give their kids opportunities to see the world that they may have never had.

Natalie and Corby ensure that each child in their home not only is safe, but has the best opportunity for permanency and the best possible quality of life possible. They infuse joy into the lives of each of these children and do it all with grace.

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent in Northern Arizona, contact the foster care team at 928-708-7227 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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