Published July 1, 2019
In January 2014, our home was broken into by three young teenagers. My husband and I arrived home just in time to see two kids being placed in handcuffs. Our world changed.
Our hurt, anger and fear for our property turned into an absolute devastation for those kids. How? Why? What can/could we do? A week later, my husband Daniel came home with the "best idea ever"—foster care. I laughed in his face. But God knows our hearts and His plans for us, and He started moving. By July 2014, we were certified as foster parents and waiting for our first placements … yes, plural.
Our first placement—a sibling set of three—came to us in August 2014. I remember calling my momma within the first two weeks and apologizing for everything I ever did or thought about doing as a kid. The first months with a placement were so tough. I remember feeling so overwhelmed.
About a month in, I was tucking in our oldest foster daughter (10), and she reached out and hugged me and said, "It's okay; we don't know what we are doing either." God knew what I needed to hear. Parenting. Fostering. It is so fluid. A perfectly choreographed dance. But sometimes we stumble and fall. It's not easy.
All the kiddos that have passed through our doors have humbled me. I've learned. I've lost. I'll always love. I've listened. But most importantly, I've lived. My prayer as a foster parent is always that we make their time in care a time of healing and filled with good memories. Opening our home has changed me. I didn't want kids. I was content with my nursing career, my husband and two dogs.
But now I am the proud momma of three adopted kiddos: Ellie (14), Shawn (13) and Josh (9). I am now a stay-at-home momma. We've since become medically-complex certified and have continued to foster. "Silly Girl" (9), our current placement, will be officially joining our family sometime in the next year. It's never lost on me how blessed Daniel and I are to get to parent our kiddos. It's a gift. One we never truly expected, but are forever grateful.
Sunrise Children's Services has been with us every step of the way. Our kiddos haven't been easy, nor have we. But Sunrise has never given up on our kiddos or us. Even post-adoption, Sunrise is still actively involved and invested in our kiddos.
I encourage you, if you are thinking about fostering, make the call. It is the best decision we ever made.
Denise Henderson is a Sunrise foster and adoptive parent.
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