When Sara and Stuart were on their very first date, she told him that if she ever had kids, it would be through foster care. Happily, that was a-ok with Stuart, and a few years later they were married. They didn’t take too long to get going on their foster care journey, and had hopes that eventually they could adopt. At just twenty-three years old, Sara got a call for a foster placement, and it came on the very first day they were licensed.
Sara recently shared her foster to adopt story with POPSugar, in the hopes of shedding more light on both foster care and adoption. And WOW, is it a story I am glad I saw. Within moments, I was moved to tears…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Sara told POPSugar that their first foster care placement was for just a week, a little baby, and that everything went find. At the time, she says, “We planned on only welcoming babies and toddlers into our home. Older kids and teens didn’t even seem like an option. I was only 23 years old and the idea of raising a child so close in age didn’t even seem possible.” Soon after that first baby left their home, though, they got a call for a three-year-old boy named Michael. He just needed a placement for a weekend, and they gladly welcomed him. However, that weekend soon became a week, then months…then years.
Soon after Michael was placed with them, Sara and Stuart found out he had an older brother named Dayshawn who needed a long-term placement. But…he was a lot older, and that gave Sara pause. “Stuart and I were still feeling a little hesitant about taking in an older kid. There’s only a 13-year age difference between me and Dayshawn,” she explains. As a mom, I can certainly see why that would feel odd, but Sara says as soon as they met Dayshawn, “all our fears went out the window. He is the world’s sweetest teenager. He is helpful, compassionate, and so funny. He makes friends wherever he goes, and it has been such a privilege being able to be his parent. I don’t believe that any child should have to feel thankful about being adopted, although Dayshawn does and he’s extremely vocal about it.”
In this video of Dayshawn and Michael’s adoption day by NW Creatives, you will see exactly what Sara is talking about. Dayshawn’s constant expressions of joy over his family moved his mom—and susequently me— to tears many times over. His radiant spirit is overwhelmingly evident, and I can’t wait to see what God will do through this young man’s life! You’ve GOT to take the three minutes to watch; it will make your entire day!
Don’t be afraid to foster teens
Sara, now 26, wants to make it clear that even though their adoption of Michael, 6, and Dayshawn, 13, is final, their fostering journey is not. There are still many kids in care who need a stable family to reside with, whether for a short time or permanently. She particular wants to encourage those already in or considering foster care to not be afraid to foster teens.
“Time and time again in my foster parent trainings, I hear people say that they don’t feel capable of fostering teens,” she says. “There are so many stereotypes of teenagers in foster care that make prospective foster parents nervous. I wish people could take a peek into our home and see how full of love it is.” She goes on to say that yes, there WILL be hard times, but, “I love fostering teens…I wish that people who are considering fostering understood that the nightmare scenarios you often hear of are SO far and few between. In no way am I saying that it’s easy, but I can guarantee it will be one of the most worthwhile things you will ever do.”
Sara also wants those considering foster care to know that you don’t have to be any kind of “supermom” or amazing person to welcome kids into your life.
“I’m totally fine with rocking the #worldsokayestmom title. I’m not perfect. In fact I screw up all the time. But I’ve learned that showing up every day and trying your best for these kids is the key to being successful. Every kid just wants to know that someone cares about them and their well-being.”
Well said, Sara! I’m so thankful that you’re spreading the message about living the foster care life and about the joy that can come from fostering teens.