Adam and Rachel became a licensed foster home in May of 2016. Two months later they accepted placement of a newborn baby. As first time parents and new foster parents they were able to connect with other foster families and seek advice from One Heart Family Ministries, the agency they completed their STARS training with. The plan changed to adoption, for their first placement, and they were able to adopt their son. They enjoyed a much needed break from fostering before accepting placement of two young girls in August of 2018. They are now a busy family of five! Adam and Rachel are parents to G, 2 years old, Z, 2 years old, and Z, three years old and live in South St. Louis City.
We sat down with Adam & Rachel to learn more about their fostering journey and what they’ve learned in the process. Read below to learn more about this family!
What was most encouraging to you as you began fostering?
The honest community and relationships we formed through our STARS class at One Heart Family Ministries really helped set our expectations. Mostly, they were affirming that we are fostering for a reason, and that there is no perfect time or family to foster. It is always messy and you just jump in. The support and encouragement we continue to receive from them makes fostering much more sustainable for our family.
What would you have said to yourself when you first became a foster parent?
Don’t have any expectations about timelines ever. Just be patient about how things will turn out. Given that you have no idea of timeline in any case, make sure to be comfortable knowing your self-care boundaries.
What is the most positive interaction you’ve had with a birth parent? Please describe.
The most powerful moment I’ve had in foster care was the day in court when G’s mom voluntarily consented to TPR, knowing she couldn’t care for him and we would adopt him in a heartbeat. I wanted to burst into sad tears, offer her a huge hug of comfort, and also cry out of gratitude, sitting right next to her in that tiny courtroom. The complexity of emotions leading to adoption is extraordinary.
What do you wish you would have known before you started fostering? Dear younger me…
When my husband and I were dating, we were very close with an experienced foster family. We babysat, did dishes, and made meals. I’m realizing we all have a role to help kids in care, whether we are single, married, old or young. I wish I had jumped into helping sooner, and I wish I knew that I would definitely be on the receiving end of some crucial help in a later life season!
What has been the funniest moment since you started fostering?
Our kids are 2 to 3 years old right now, which makes for some fun lapses in communication, especially during dinner.
Mom: Z, why don’t you trade G your broccoli for some corn? He’s pretty excited about the broccoli tonight.
Z: G, will you trade my broccoli for some of your corn?
G: YES. nods enthusiastically happily hands Z a single kernel of corn
I will absolutely miss this extraordinarily literal stage of development.
Who is your greatest support and how?
Our friends Christian and Melanie are also foster parents that we met in STARS class. There is nothing more valuable than having a safe place to spend time where all of your kids are loved and their energy and wildness isn’t too much. We spent Thanksgiving with them this year; they are family to us.
What surprised you the most when you began fostering?
My phone rings absolutely non-stop. Particularly during the first month of a placement.
How have you grown or changed since you began the fostering journey?
When we had our first placement, I was insecure when people judged me for caring for a child of a very different skin tone. The most random strangers feel like they get to ask insensitive questions or give rude opinions. At this point, I have no fear in shutting those conversations down. It is never up for public review what my family looks like, and it is especially never okay to ask those questions in front of my kids. Sorry, random Schnucks Checker who is bagging my groceries. You don’t actually need to know if my son is a foster kid.
Describe your best day so far. Describe your worst day so far.
We had a huge party the day we adopted G. It was exhausting and beautiful. I’m glad we got to celebrate. Honestly, as he grows and learns the days get sweeter. We spent the anniversary of his adoption by going to the Missouri Botanical Gardens with him while the other kids were at school. I really love to spend time with him, especially outdoors, where it’s okay for him to be wild. That was a really amazing day. I’m so grateful I get to see him get older.
What is your favorite family activity?
Missouri Botanical Gardens is good for getting energy out year round! It’s great to have a chance to teach the kids to appreciate nature, and the splash pad in the amazing Children’s Garden is fairly contained and easy to keep any eye on littles!
What is the favorite go to family dinner at your house?
Obviously, with young kids, we eat way too many chicken nuggets. Slow cooker carnitas are a big hit though! They slow cook on low forever, and then you fry the meat in a skillet for two minutes on one side to get super crispy. I had to get a really big slow cooker as our family changed. Convenience is critical at this stage in life.
What is your favorite TV show?
It’s probably too cliché, but our show right now is really This Is Us. I’m way too tired for TV every night!
How has your view of foster care changed since you started?
When we started fostering, we wanted to personally save each kid that came into our home. That’s too much responsibility on any family. There is a huge team surrounding every case, and as foster parents, our job is to connect the dots. We provide love and nurturing, but we also coordinate a ton of needed services and care. The resources are there, we don’t need to shoulder it all.