FOSTERING COMMUNITY BLOG
A biological child’s perspective of growing up and living in a foster care certified home
Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey Karr. I am a current intern with the Houston Angels, a Texas A&M University graduate, and now a Baylor doctoral occupational therapy student nearing very close to graduation. In addition to having these roles, I also have some roles/background within the foster care system. So, let’s get into it.
My Family, Our Journey
Growing up, I was raised by a single biological mother (she’s a superstar) alongside my two biological siblings. I am the oldest, but my sister and brother aren’t far behind me in age. Our journey as a family as part of the foster care community began in middle/late 2016. One of our family friends in town was fostering a sibling set, and she told my mom that she thinks we would really like fostering kids. So, we looked more into it and started the process of becoming a foster to adopt home.
Becoming Foster-to-Adopt Certified Home, how’d we do it?
For anyone thinking about becoming a certified foster home or foster-to-adopt home, the process looks very daunting and long and complicated. I personally would say that it definitely can be daunting, but if you are organized and know where to go for resources, it does not have to be.
In Texas, here are the main/major steps in becoming a foster/adoptive parent:
That’s the major stuff friends. That is the major steps to becoming foster certified or adoption certified in the state of Texas. Now my mom went through ALL of that. As a “child” in the home, my process was not as extensive. I have memories of us all going and getting fingerprinted together, taking CPR together, making fire escape maps with our markers and hanging it on the wall. One of the major memories I have of the process was the home-study. The CPS worker came in, interviewed us one by one, and got to know us. I remember being so scared and nervous about it all, but then it happened and it was totally fine! While the steps to become a foster parent can seem daunting and time-consuming for everyone involved, you can do them as a family and it makes it SO fun.
So, now we will fast-forward a little to February 2017. We got the call that we were officially approved and certified as a Foster-to-Adopt Home! We thought it would take a while to get a placement, but boy were we wrong!!
A Certified Home to The First Placement- Our INSTANT Start
We got the call that we were certified to start fostering…and within TWO HOURS we got a call -
“Hi we have a potential placement for you, they need somewhere immediately, it’s a newborn.
Do you want to take it?"
WHAAATT!! We were shocked. We thought it would be at least a week or two. But nope. Now let me tell you a little about calls for placement - you get little to no detail sometimes. We knew NOTHING about this baby’s situation, why she was brought into care, nothing. We just knew it was a baby that needed a place to go. Foster care is taking a jump, trusting in yourself and your worker, and saying YES. Needless to say, we said yes. Within an hour or so we had a beautiful baby girl dropped off on our doorstep.
Now just so you are aware - the goal of foster care is ALWAYS family reunification, ALWAYS. So, I knew when those sweet babies came into our home, that it wasn’t going to be forever. Out of the 13 kids we have had in our home, some of them did go home (YAY). That first sweet little angel you saw in the picture, yep she went home to her parents. Some of our placements got adopted by new families, some went to other foster homes, each one with their own journey and story. Being a foster certified home is bittersweet. You sacrifice for the kids in your home, you love and care for them, protect them, advocate for them, and then have to say goodbye. While the goodbyes are hard, you know ultimately you are making a difference and are doing what is right for the kids.
The One That Never Left
Remember how I said I got super duper attached to all of our babies we got placed with? Well the story is no different with the one that never left. We got placed with a 5 week old newborn baby girl, and instantly loved her. After two years of being placed in our home as a child in the foster care system, her parent’s rights were taken away/signed away, and she became eligible for adoption. Needless to say when they asked us if we wanted to adopt her, it was an instant yes. Ever heard of Gotcha Day? Well we just celebrated her 2nd Gotcha Day, aka her second year anniversary of the day she was adopted and became Kendall Skye Payne.
So, here’s my newest little sister:
Fostering and The Impact it Has On Me Now
Loving and providing a safe space for those babies was everything to me. Now, I know without a doubt that I am SO ready to be a mom myself, whether that be with biological children or kiddos in the foster care system. Not only has fostering kids confirmed that I want to be a mother, but it also has taught me SO many important lessons that are applicable for my life as an adult. I know how to manage really hard situations. I am a killer at time management because I juggled life as a high school student fostering kids on top of transporting kids to appointments and visits and everything else they needed to be at. I learned how important kindness is and how although love hurts sometimes, it is worth it. Fostering kiddos brought my biological family closer together. This wild journey we went through, made us rely on each other more and we have had more and more communication and love for each other.
That’s my story. That’s our story. & That's how God blessed me with another sister.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
PO Box 420966
Houston, TX 77242