When the Perfect Time isn’t Perfect: A Reflection by a New Foster Mom

by
Jenna and edited by Sarah Davenport, FCNI Director
February, 17, 2021

Hello, my name is Jenna, and I live together with my husband, Jim, my biological thirteen year old daughter, Liz, and our two dogs, Max and Ruby. Jim and I have been married and a blended family since June of 2016. Just shortly before getting married, we closed on a house that would need a lot of work as it hadn’t been lived in in a long time.

Our story isn’t an easy one to tell because we both come from difficult backgrounds and our blended family had been through quite a bit of turmoil before becoming more united. I share this not to create shame and guilt, but to share that marriage and blended families take a lot of work and patience. My hope is that if you’re considering foster care, that you will find encouragement in our story and consider more seriously reaching out to FCNI or the County [Department of Social Services (DSS)].

As we were in the process of slowly remodeling our home, we dealt with a lot of resistance, lying, and push back from my daughter; even up until we applied to be foster parents. Jim had worked with kids in Bible groups at church, as well as overseas; but being a parent was a new ballgame for him. This was a stressful and difficult time as we both had different parenting ideals and came from different cultural backgrounds. Learning to meet in the middle and work together also wasn’t easy but made a huge difference when we started working together.

Although we had decided to consider more children/ foster care, it took us a long time to realize that we should move forward [with it]. Every so often I would look on Adopt US Kids’ website and one day I stumbled upon a cute little girl who resided in the same state. Her story touched our hearts and after reaching out to her caseworker, we were told that we needed to go through Foster care training first in order to be considered. We sought out our County [DSS] as well as FCNI to learn more, and decided to go with FCNI for their support and extra training for children who had experienced trauma. Jim and I were unsure if we would be approved because of the situation with our daughter but we gave it up to the Lord in prayer and remembered that He had called us to do this. So we met with Maria [an FCNI Foster Care Recruiter] and were upfront about [our issues].

As we went through training, I believe our hearts and ears were opening to more understanding with Liz also. With more prayer, conversations, support from family, and consistency, Liz started opening up about her inward struggles and fears, and saw how much we truly cared for her. She has made a lot more progress in communicating what [was] going on inside of her and we, although not perfect, did strive for unity as a family. 

We continued on with the process of becoming foster care parents and shortly after, found out that the girl we were hoping to foster /adopt had been placed. My heart was saddened, but I see now that God had used her to soften our hearts to His calling and show us that there wasn’t going to be a “perfect time” to start foster care. I believe we are all in a continual process of learning, growing, healing, and this process looks different for everyone. These kids need a safe place with love and consistency to do the same--so they can heal from their past hurts and become healthy and happy children again.

God doesn’t promise that life will be easy following Him, but He does promise that He will be with us every step of the way. Opening your heart and home to a child, whether biological or not, isn’t easy, but it’s an opportunity of hope for consistency that will make a huge positive impact (whether you see if right away or not). God has been with us through our journey with Liz--and in some way, I believe she has also helped prepare us [for fostering]--and I know I can count on Him to help us as we accept our first placement and help her continue on in her healing journey. 

If you're interested in adopting or becoming a foster parent, contact Maria at mdroberts@fcni.org or call 805-215-0553 to begin your journey today.