I am so honored to have the opportunity to gift a photo shoot each month during the year of 2020 to a foster family. Corey and Brittany have such a lively and joyful family. It was a privilege to capture the love and all the movement within their home. I sent Brittany some questions about their journey as foster parents. Keep reading to hear parts of their story.
1. How many years have you been foster parents?
We were officially approved as foster parents beginning of 2017. In just a tiny bit, we’ll be foster parents for 3 years!
2. How many children have come through your home?
Three! Our first placement was a 9 month old girl, after she left, a newborn girl came to us. After that, a newborn baby boy. While we still had him, our first daughter came back to us for a little while. We’re in the process of adopting our son, our third placement.
3. How did you handle the good byes as children left your home?
I cannot tell you what its like to love a child, then give them back to their family. Though this is the process, you cannot prepare your heart. My heart will never be whole. I feel as though something is always missing. I’m always wondering how they are doing, if it was confusing for them. Our children loved and lost so incredibly well! We cry, print out pictures, and talk about the memories. How she loves mac and cheese, and loved hide and seek. Or how badly that formula smelled, how she was starting to coo and laugh. Its healing to talk about it with those who’ve been through it. But that feeling of somebody missing will be something we’ll feel forever.
4. Why did you choose foster care?
At 16 years old, I listened to the song “The broken One” by the Talley Trio on repeat. It spoke to my soul. Little did I know God had already started his work in me long before I met Corey, who also had the vision to foster. After 2 biological children, we knew it was our time to start fostering. We’ve been given such an incredible gift! We were born into families that love and care for each other! I want to help those who haven’t had that, to know their child is safe and loved while they focus on caring for themselves. To show the kids what the love of a family and community feels like! When you realize you were given something so beautiful you didn’t earn, you’ll want to share it with everyone.
5. What was it like meeting birth parents for the first time?
So nerve wracking! I’m awkward with meeting new people. I never know what to say or how to act. A friend gave her daughter’s mom a huge hug. I couldn’t do that! But guys, they are just PEOPLE! When you meet them, chances are you know your child’s story, or some of it! Then you meet the parents and the story becomes real! The parents become more than the mistakes that brought us together. They are valuable soul’s God desperately wants!
6. What has God taught you during your time as a foster parent?
The most important thing he’s taught me is about privilege. Privilege means you have something you haven’t earned. My salvation, my birth family, I’ve earned none of it. I didn’t choose to be born into a Mennonite family where my parent’s love each other and us. I didn’t earn a Savior who died for MY sins! It’s humbling to think all the successes I may think I’ve had in this life are not mine to claim! With that same thought, children born in neglectful homes haven’t deserved that either. Then they grow up, and have children. There’s a cycle there that they never wanted, and can’t get out of on their own. I can give a child an example of pure, undefiled love because my savior gave that to me. I cannot make a difference, but Christ can THROUGH me! The Lord gave us an incredible gift we want to share with others.
Its painful. It hurts, sometimes I’m angry at God. But with every case, I’m more determined to do it all over again. If this foster care process hurts me this much, think how much more those families and children are hurting? I cannot tell you how incredible it is, to know that I am exactly where the Lord wants me. I am doing the exact thing he’s called me to. Everyone’s mission on this life won’t look the same. But one thing I know, we do not serve a God of fear, lies are from the father of all lies. Ask God if he’s calling you to foster care, or to support in some other way! AND FOLLOW THROUGH! I’m so thankful for the people surrounding us, we couldn’t have come this far without them!
Thank you Corey and Brittany! Your vision for why you foster is so encouraging and life giving! To read about the 2020 foster care give back project click here. To read our foster care story click here.