My husband and I began an international adoption of twin boys when the timeline for completion was right around one years. Twelve whole months. It was to go quickly, and they would be in our home. Baby showers were generously held for us. We started thrifting some essentials. I bought way too many little boy clothes. And then we began to see the timeline grow. More delays. Another six months. All the while, our hearts were aching for these two boys to be in our home. But more than that, we realized we were aching to have children in our home. To parent children from hard places. And we realized they didn't even have to be "ours." We had all the necessities, so what should we do? I'm a social worker in the foster care system. Foster care was on our minds. But my husband's schedule as a med student and now medical resident didn't lend well to foster parent training. Or the full-time, extended, heightened care and commitment foster parenting demands of you — and rightly so! What we could do was become a Safe Families host family.
Safe Families is a faith-based network of host families with whom biological parents can voluntarily place their children during times of crisis. Domestic violence, homelessness, unemployment, mental illness and so on. It's not necessarily an alternative to foster care... Foster care would be utilized if neglect or abuse was involved in these situations. It's more of a prevention of foster care. The application and training process was fairly simple, especially since we already had a home study. We welcomed 2-year-old M a week after we received the go-ahead from Safe Families. We prepared our home and hearts for his arrival as best we could. I never imagined M would be the first child I parented with my husband. I never thought this little boy from Indianapolis would be the first to sleep in the bed I bought for my little boys from Africa. I never pictured the tiny Toms I bought on mister M's feet first. And I never ever expected the first time I'd be called "mommy" was out of the mouth of a sweet boy from a hard place with a mommy just fifteen minutes away. He — and the ministry of Safe Families — stole our hearts. Since M, we have hosted five other children in the course of a year. Our experiences have not always been easy or fun. But we have gladly answered the call to do something for kids from hard places. It has been a joy to know these little people and their parents.
Visit Safe Families' website for more information.
Natalie blogs about marriage, adoption, social work, and other adventures at little things + big stuff.
Thank you so much for sharing Natalie, love your heart!!!