A Rewarding and Surprising Experience

May 30, 2023 - Foster Care and Adoption


June 2023 Story Image 3

Mark and Jennifer weren’t looking to foster, but foster care found them. It happened very naturally. One of Jennifer’s co-workers adopted three kids. She’s a single mom, and they wanted to help her out. So, they offered to babysit her children. It didn’t take long before they fell in love with the kids.

They talked with friends and family about their growing interest through the summer of 2020. Jennifer’s boss (and best friend) saw a Foster Care & Adoption Online Info Session in late August and sent her the link. She and Mark attended and started the licensing process right away. PCHAS verified Mark and Jennifer as a foster family in March 2021. Less than three weeks later, they welcomed two children into their home.

Their family and friends have been excellent support. Each time they receive a placement, everyone springs into action to lend a hand in different ways, like buying items they may need and bringing meals.

They say it’s been surprising to see how much progress children make toward meeting developmental milestones when they consistently meet their most basic needs. They’ve also enjoyed being a safe place for children. One child had night terrors, but as she grew to feel safe with Jennifer and Mark, she knew she wasn’t alone. She would eventually even say, “‘I want to talk about it.’ She would pour her little heart out. It was amazing seeing her getting a voice for herself,” says Jennifer.

As they’ve worked to connect with kids, they’ve also seen growth in their attachment. Jennifer says, “The closer your bond with the children, the more expressive they can be. Even if there are negative expressions, you can tell the attachment is growing stronger. They are feeling safe and secure.”

They’ve seen remarkable growth in other relationships, too. Workers didn’t want them to communicate with the children’s birth family early in one case. It wasn’t until the children left to live with a relative that they met. That situation didn’t work out, and the children’s birth parents requested they return to Mark and Jennifer. They knew the kids were loved and safe with Jennifer and Mark. They were delighted for the kids to return, though they’d welcomed another child by then, so the dynamics were slightly different. Even so, everyone settled into a routine. Mark and Jennifer enjoyed connecting with the children’s birth parents this second time around, and when they completed the court requirements, they all celebrated the kids’ return home.

There’s never a guarantee of contact after foster care, but with respect and compassion, it can be possible. Such is the case for Jennifer and Mark. They built a trusting relationship with the kids’ birth family, who asked them to become their godparents. They still get to see them and babysit from time to time. Jennifer says, “The more people who can love on these kids, the better!”

Mark and Jennifer are big advocates for kids. They’re also big advocates for families to consider fostering. They say it’s the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done. But they also encourage people to make sure they are ready, to assess themselves, their marriage and their support system. They are glad they chose PCHAS and grateful for their Foster Care & Adoption Case Manager, Jessica Porter, who feels like part of their family. “We always ask her questions. She’s quick to respond, and we never feel judged,” they say.

PCHAS thinks the world of Jennifer and Mark, too. We’re so thankful for families willing to step into children's lives to ensure they have a safe, loving family and the opportunity to heal. 

Have you ever thought about becoming a foster family? We’d be happy to share all about it and answer your questions. Sign Up for an Online Info Session or Connect With Us to learn more.

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