May 16, 2022

We felt so alone

There are more than 2,500 children in foster care in San Diego County. At our recent BLOOM fundraiser, Hope for San Diego heard from one of the amazing foster parents who is providing a safe and loving home. Danielle Curtis connected with Hope for San Diego through her social worker and our affiliate, Restoration 225. We helped Redeemer Church create a care community to surround Danielle and her family with support in their foster journey. In her story, we’ve changed the name of the child in their care to safeguard his privacy.

Our foster baby, named Anthony, is 16 months old now. He is a sweet little guy who is super cuddly with dark curly hair and has the most adorable smile. One of the cutest things he’s learned to do lately is lift up his arms when we say “Praise the Lord!” Sometimes the phrase will come up in conversation and we’ll look over and see him lifting his hands.

My husband and I always wanted to foster because we were aware of the great need there was and as Christians we thought who better to fill that need than the church. We prayed and examined our gifts in deciding what ministries we were best suited for. We knew we probably weren’t suited for missionary work for example, because I am so bad at languages and struggle in different environments because of allergies (my husband calls me a fragile flower, haha! I just sort of wilt whenever we travel anywhere.) So an at-home type ministry seemed suitable.

Even though it took us awhile, we got our foster license on March 16, 2021. And we got our first placement. All we knew was that he was a 7-month-old boy who had several siblings in other homes, and he was the youngest. Earlier that day, we prepared with a ton of shopping, with two Walmart cart loads of baby stuff, from a car seat, diapers to bottles. Turns out babies need a lot of stuff! Then, we waited. Leading up to his arrival we were very anxious, and tired. He eventually came past midnight with his cute self. He was understandably scared. And I was so nervous I didn’t even know how to make a bottle—the social worker had to help me.

Once settled at home, Anthony cried constantly for at least a week.  Eventually, you could actually hold him and he’d stop crying; however my arms became extremely sore, because of his need to be held all the time. I had a friend who brought a front carrier to help me hold him more easily. She was excited to meet him, too! I opened the door and he was crying, and then her daughter started crying and I just looked at her and I started crying. We were all crying!

I realized this was a lot harder than I anticipated.  All normal life had stopped. All cooking, social life, even our business, which we run from home took a hit because of the sheer amount of attention the situation needed. I just felt so helpless not knowing how to stop the crying. We took him to the doctor countless times not knowing if his crying was because of something emotional or physical, or both. He had issues ranging from constipation, diaper rash, a UTI, pink eye, fever, the flu and even COVID at one point. He also didn’t have any vaccinations (which meant we couldn’t put him in daycare). So, it was a lot. Not to mention all the social workers, attorneys, bio family visits and other miscellaneous appointments.

To be honest, I did struggle with regret occasionally. I was confident going into foster care, but struggled in the process. My husband has been a rock, praise God and I have leaned on his encouragement daily. And I cannot say enough good things about our Care Community. Our social worker connected us to them and I am so thankful she did. We felt alone because many in our own community did not understand the challenges we faced and our home church was quite far away.

We found ourselves so grateful for the body of believers that extends across zip codes. In addition to weekly meals, we have been blessed with babysitting, diapers, gift cards for his daycare staff who were dealing with his issues there, ongoing prayer and encouragement, even Christmas gifts for our whole family (cause who has time to shop for Christmas gifts when fostering?!) I’m not sure how much longer our foster baby will be with us, but I know he is thriving in our home now. And I am thankful God has placed genuine love in the hearts of His people to help make that happen.

Join Safe Families and Olive Crest on June 7 for a live orientation on how you can be involved in preventing child abuse and providing safe homes for at-risk children.