Tracey was too young to remember her earliest days, but they would shape the rest of her life. She spent the first six months of her life in foster care before being placed with the parents who would adopt her.
Thirty years later, Tracy and her husband, Bob, wanted to start a family. They regularly ministered to children at their church and were like family to many kids in their community. Tracey’s health problems put their plans to adopt on hold.
Becoming a Foster Parent
In their early 40s, Tracey and Bob felt God leading them to become foster parents. They chose to be licensed through Catholic Charities foster care program. Tracey herself was once part of Catholic Charities foster program in the Midwest. “We knew what Catholic Charities had done for me, we knew we wanted to go through them to foster,” said Tracey.
After attending the necessary training and getting licensed, they were anxious to begin. That was 6 years ago. Since then they have fostered children aged newborn through 7 years old. “Each child we’ve had has prepared us for the next one. We didn’t get our first long-term placement for about 6 months, but had many short term placements,” said Tracey.
Adopting From Foster Care
Tracey and Bob have adopted two sons from foster care. Their oldest son is 11 years old; he’s a very kind and caring kid. Recently, he got sad when he realized that his dad didn’t have a gotcha day to celebrate like he did. He has come a long way since he first came to live with them. He has some challenges and his parents are constantly advocating on his behalf. He participates in Scouts with his dad and enjoys art.
This spring, the family officially grew as their youngest son was adopted. He is 3 years old and has an endless supply of energy. “He is a runner, so we constantly have to watch him,” said Tracey.
While they don’t know what the future holds, they are hoping to buy a bigger house so they can provide respite foster care to other foster families needing a break. It’s too early to say if they would ever welcome another child into their family, but it’s a possibility.
Donna Baldonado, Catholic Charities case manager, has worked with this family for years. “Tracey and Bob are very kind and patient,” said Baldonado. “They are a great fit for their two adopted children. If I didn’t know any better, I would think the two were biologically theirs, they even look alike.”