Hazel—For Hailey Roach and her husband Jordan, pastor of Hazel Baptist Church, foster care is a calling and has been since before she and Jordan married three years ago. The turning point for Jordan in this calling, however, came after observing the family situations he saw many of the children the couple brings to church on buses.
The couple, both first time 25-year-old parents, welcomed into their home a 13- and 14-year-old brother and sister duo, Joseph* and Rebecca*, in February. They had been preparing for the process since last June.
"I saw these kids and the needs that they had and know that maybe we couldn't do much, but at least we could do our part," Jordan shared. "I can't convince someone to be a foster parent, but I can be a foster parent myself."
Hailey sees one of the biggest rewards in the whole process is "the obedience of saying yes." She shared that although Jordan always wanted to foster older kids, she "was kind of freaked out by them," she quipped.
"I think God was laughing at us when I was going through all that in my head, because our very first placement was teenagers," she continued. But although it was not in her plans or comfort zone, "He's blessed us with just the joys that the kids bring us. Life looks differently now, but it's exciting in its own way."
Much like parenthood in general, they're both adjusting for the kids. "You have your own routine and then you wake up the next day and you have someone else's that you're responsible for," Hailey described. "You get done with your stuff, and then there's their stuff. It's just finding the balance of making sure that you take care of yourself but also adding in what's important to them as well."
One of the biggest helps and rewards in this process, they both agree, is the support system they've found—both with their families and within their church.
Haley shared that their church and family supported them by bringing food by or supplies to help the kids settle in at first or even picking them up from school when both foster parents have a meeting. "It's just been overwhelming, a joy."
"I feel like our church family has stepped up just as much as our regular families. They've stepped in. From the first day that the kids came to church with us, they made them feel welcome and a part. They have just treated them like they were church family from the beginning. I think that's made an impact on the kid's lives as well," she said.
She continued, "I think even our kids would agree that the strong support that we feel affects them and they appreciate that as well."
Jordan's advice for potential foster parents hinges on the community. Although he'd never discourage anyone from being a foster parent and he's seen people do it alone, he still advises, "Make sure you have people around you that are going to be there for you."
Hailey added, "Maybe you can't be a foster parent, but there is some way that you can help kids in the foster care system." (WR)