I have always loved children. My goal in life was to grow up and be a mom! In elementary school, I gravitated toward babies and young children at family events and church socials. I babysat often as a teenager. In college, I was a junior high youth leader and a children’s choir director at my church. I am the oldest child, with two younger sisters. Kids have always been in my life.
About sixteen years ago, I was successful and established in my career as a software engineer. I had my own home, and I was active at church. But I was single and spending an awful lot of time at work. I began to feel a nudge that there was more to my life than this. Then “the sermon” happened. On a regular Sunday morning, as I sat in the church service, the minister preached about service. I don’t remember the words any more, but the message was that we should serve others as Christ served us. This was not a new concept, but a reminder at just the right moment.
I had been exposed to foster families for several years before that. There were two long-term foster families in our church that received babies through elementary school children. Two little girls in foster care were in my children’s choir, and I had the opportunity to take them out to movies, swimming or the park on weekends. Somehow the seed had been planted long before, but when “the sermon” happened, I felt called to become a foster parent.
Initially I thought I would foster for a couple years or so, until my “knight in shining armor” came along. I figured I could help children in transition until my life changed and I had children of my own. So, in 1994 I became a licensed foster parent. My life did change, but not according to my plan.
Fast forward sixteen years to now. I have been a foster parent to seventeen children ages zero to five. I am still in contact with the families of several. I have found my calling caring and advocating for the children in my home.
In addition, I have weathered the “system” through good and bad. Three years ago, I became so frustrated that I was determined to do more. The result (possibly also a mid-life crisis) was to apply to and enroll in law school, with the plan of advocating for children. Again, life changed, but not as I planned. I am now over half done with law school but don’t currently see a career change to an attorney. I think I can better serve in a volunteer capacity as an attorney while maintaining my career in software engineering (something has to pay the bills, and public service, well you know…).
I have adopted two of my foster children, now age 11 and 7, when they were each about three and a half, and I am “mom” to another 7-year-old who lives with her dad but spends most of her time outside of school days at my home. I am also currently fostering a baby boy that I received when he was 12 days old and who is now almost three months old.
My life can sometimes be described as controlled chaos with all of the balls I throw in the air, but I have become a master at juggling, always keeping in mind that the children are the priority. I hope I can enlighten others who are considering or are actively involved in foster care. It is not an easy road, but it is such a blessing, both to the children and to the foster families. There is always room for another child to love!