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Daniel and I had just adopted our first son, Mathieu, in June of 2005. We were loving being parents and were soaking up every moment with our precious new blessing.
During that process, however, we had met a wonderful foster parent who had been caring for Mathieu. Listening to her journey and finding out about fostering, Daniel and I immediately knew we wanted to become foster parents too. Our passion was caring for children in need of families, whether permanently or temporarily, so we began the process to become foster parents.
Once again we got the EXACT same response as when we chose to adopt. Honestly, by now I figured people would have clued in to us. Nope. “But you’re so young!” “You’re crazy!” “Don’t you want to travel?” “You should enjoy your first child!”
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Thankfully, because we had just recently adopted, they were able to utilize the same home study with just a simple update. We had also previously taken the Safe Babies Foster Training Course for our adoption of Mathieu, due to him being under the age of 1. All that remained was to take the Foster Parent Training. We enrolled within a few months of bringing Mathieu home, excited to embark on this next journey.
It didn’t take long, and before we knew it, by April of 2006 at the age of 21 and 22 we were an open Safe Baby foster home. This meant we could take children under the age of 1 who had any prenatal exposure or special needs. We decided to open up to kids 0-6. Our main problem, however, was a rule that did not allow foster children to share a room with any other children in the family. This meant the little 2-bedroom condo we had just purchased would be too small. Our hometown was one city away, and we had only moved to where we currently were living because of the great deal we got on the condo. We made the decision to buy a three bedroom condo back in our hometown. Six months after buying our first condo, we sold it with a $40,000 profit (thanks to a great real estate market) and bought our next home.
We set up a new room with two beds and before we knew it we got our first phone call. It was for a brother and sister who were 4 and 6 years old. It broke our heart navigating that first placement, as they cried every night to go back to their mom. It gave us our first valuable lesson as foster parents, however, to not take acting out at face value. We knew they were struggling, since their entire world had just been rocked wide open. Thankfully they were able to return home two weeks later, and we prepared ourselves for the next placement.
Not long after, we got a phone call or a 3 year old little boy. We were told he would be going to family the next day so it was only a short term, overnight placement. As the social worker dropped the scared little guy off, she slowly back towards the door and mumbled “By the way, I think he might have lice.”
This would trigger what would become a life long phobia of lice. I am prone to phobia’s, really, so it is no surprise. I knew I needed to get a special shampoo and if I bathed him right away I could likely contain it. As I stared at that sweet boys face and his shaking body with fear, I knew instead he needed snuggles. I brought him over to the couch, grabbed a book, and calmed him down from the strange new surroundings. As it happened, he left the next day, but not without leaving behind some lovely little bugs in my hair. It took a good couple of weeks of non-stop washing and cleaning and scalp burning (I wasn’t the best at treating myself) but eventually we were able to return to normal. Well…as normal as one can get once they develop a lice phobia.
We had a few more placements of infants and then one day in June of 2006, a little over a year after we brought Mathieu home, we got a call for a a baby that had just been born. We had never parented a newborn before, and the idea both scared and excited us at the same time. We welcomed our 5th foster child into our home, not realizing he would be staying much longer than we ever realized.
To find out more about Robby’s journey, click here.
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