When parents welcome a child from foster care into their home, they also open their homes to the Department of Child Safety (DCS), licensing workers, and the child’s biological parents. This level of relationship-building and emotional involvement isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding beyond compare.
Fostering Brings Up Positive Memories
Rachel and Jason were foster parents for eight years and cared for 19 children through Catholic Charities’ Foster Care and Adoption program. They recently closed their license.
Sometimes they questioned why they were fostering but never lost sight of why they started. “Without us, these children would have no one,” stated Rachel.
The difficult cases and negative feelings aren’t what Rachel remembers most. Her memories consist of smiles, hugs, silly personalities, and grateful family members.
An Emotional Reunification
She remembers getting the call that two-year-old Logan, who had been with them for six months, was moving in with his grandparents. Rachel and her family cried as they took him to his grandparents’ house.
As Rachel was leaving their home, Logan’s grandma gave her a big hug. With tears in her eyes, she told Rachel how grateful she was that the family took good care of Logan.
Rachel remembers forgetting her own grief at that moment. She loved Logan but realized the impact of reunifying him with his family. Logan’s smile confirmed he was where he belonged.
Advocating for a Child’s Best Interests
Rachel and Jason know that children in foster care are in a system that is making a lot of decisions for them. As such, their foster parent should be a strong advocate and a soft place to land.
“We put aside our feelings for our foster children. Your heart will break. You will be angry and that’s okay; we are human,” said Jason.
Reunified with a Loving Uncle
Hannah’s story still pulls on the family’s heartstrings. Hannah was placed with them for a year. When DCS asked if they would adopt her, Rachel and Jason said yes.
However, DCS was able to locate Hannah’s 21-year-old uncle, Chris. Chris worked at a fast-food restaurant and was expecting his first child. Rachel and Jason were nervous and focused on the reasons why Chris wasn’t an ideal placement.
Despite this, they agreed to meet Chris. When they arrived, Chris picked up Hannah and started to cry. He’d lost track of his sister and Hannah and didn’t know she was in foster care until DCS located him.
It was clear how much Chris loved Hannah. Although he was young, Chris knew Hannan’s birth story and family history. Hannah was reunified with Chris, and they both became an extension of Rachel’s family.
Foster Parents Build Lifelong Bonds
Although fostering comes with heartbreak, this pales in comparison to the joy it brings. Rachel and Jason feel fulfilled knowing they helped heal and reunite families. They met incredible forever families and created new bonds through adoption.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, visit the Foster Care and Adoption page to learn more about the licensing process.
Rebecca Dominguez is a Training Manager and Licensing Specialist. Rebecca has worked with Catholic Charities in the Foster Care and Adoption program for 16 years. She has recruited, trained, licensed, and supported foster families navigating the foster care system.