Choosing Foster Care Over Comfort
My name is Jennifer Trovato, and my husband Horace and I have been licensed foster/adoptive parents for just over a year. We have two biological children and have had three foster care placements so far. We would love to adopt but we're also really happy to be a part of the reunification process.
We first started thinking about foster care about 5 years into marriage. We already had 2 biological children and were feeling quite comfortable with our lives. Horace had a good job, our kids were gems, we lived close to our families and everything was pretty great. That’s when we started feeling like we wanted to use our life and what we’d been given to serve for a greater good.
Horace asked me one evening what I thought about adoption and to be honest, I had never deeply considered that as an option for growing our family. I prayed about it for a few weeks and felt like my eyes were opened to what an amazing opportunity this could be. We looked into adoption, but while we researched and attended informational sessions, we really felt like something different might be a better fit for us…And this is when we learned about foster care.
We wanted to fill a need here in our community and we believe that life is valuable at every stage. So we saw a need in foster care with the children and their biological families and we hoped we could be able to provide some consistency and love.
The numbers are staggering at how many children are without homes in the US and specifically in our state of Maryland that we just became overwhelmed that more people needed to get involved. It was then that we saw foster care as a place where we could serve and hopefully one day adopt.
Prior to getting involved, we both felt quite leery of looking into foster care. The stigma was strong growing up and we had our reservations about opening our home to the government! The horror stories and bad experiences people love to talk about were in our minds as well. But once we started pursuing it, we realized that these were nothing more than stigmas and that even if they were true, our desire and faith are stronger and greater than our fears and reservations. As it would turn out, so far, our experience with our county has been nothing but eye opening and wonderful. One of our goals now is to try and express to everyone we know how our original perception of foster care was very far off from what we've experienced so far.
We currently have a placement that was almost definitely going to be an adoption for us, but ended up turning into a reunification. It was really hard to accept the change at first, but it is not about our family getting anything out of this (although how can I express how much we've already received from this child?), but rather it’s about how we can support this child and his family. Our hope is to continue a relationship with the birth family once the baby is back at home.
Our two children, now five and three, have also been a great part of our foster care journey so far. They both have been nothing but excited to be involved in these kid’s lives. We were riding in the car one day talking about our situation and feeling a bit down, when my five year old son said, “Mom, it's okay. Foster care isn't about getting kids. Its about loving people."
I want the world to know that you can be involved in foster care no matter who you are or how old you are. We were a young family with a simple home and hearts that wanted to serve. If you have the desire to:
- provide meals for foster families
- put together backpacks for foster kids
- pray for the counties, families and workers,
- open your home to one, two or six kids
- Or really anything way to care for vulnerable people
Know that you can! You can be involved in helping extend love vulnerable people. It is doable even with your small home and your own family and your current job. It simply takes the faith to say yes.
If you are interested in getting involved in foster care, my advice is to go to the nearest informational meeting and just get going on the process. If it's not where you're supposed to be, it will be clear, but otherwise, go for it and see what happens. I think it’s important to remember that you can also care for the social workers and birth parents and everyone involved in the case.
I'm so grateful that we got involved in foster care. Our family has remained pretty simple with the addition of foster care. We educate our kids at home, we maintain our hobbies (photography for him, vintage clothing for me, we go on dates (Baltimore is our date night city!), we have friends over for drinks, and we go on road trips. Foster care has woven itself into our normal, everyday lives and we are thrilled to be a foster family.