On our first date, my wife asked me if I’d ever be interested in foster care and adoption. Without hesitation I said, “Yes!”

1185604_10153185298545300_2097549972_nIt was at that moment that Stacey knew I was the one for her.

Sure enough, two years later we were married and four months after that we were foster parents. Two years after becoming foster parents, we adopted two teenage boys! Now, on the fourth anniversary, there are eleven children that call us mom and dad.

I can honestly say that my wife is my inspiration. Everyday I have the privilege to see her juggle our children, her career and our marriage with incredible beauty. On top of being an incredible person in our home, she is admired by many in the field she works in.

It doesn’t matter if she is giving a keynote speech at a conference, or small talk advice to a potential foster parent, I am her biggest cheerleader. But before triumphs, there is always struggle.

I’ve also had the privilege of drying her tears, giving her pep-talks to keep going, and spraying water on her so she can fight burnout.
Therefore, we celebrate because every new year is a milestone. Every year that we stay together represents one more year that a child in need will have a home.

10345925_10205701910845786_5809737871667464031_nBut we acelebrate all anniversaries, not just that of our marriage. Each year we  celebrate our adoption day (whitch just so happens to be on my wife’s birthday – what a great gift)!

We celebrate the day that our foster license was open because it gives us the ability to have children in our lives.

We celebrate the day of successful reunifications and reflect on the impact that child had on our lives and our family. We smile at the memories and learn from the mistakes.
Every milestone and triumph deserves a little reflection, celebration, and fun!
My advice is this, if you have an anniversary that represents a milestone, celebrate it, because it is extremely important to recognize anything good that has withstood the test of time.

Basic Needs of a New Placement

6143285260_8945185e21_zTaking in a new foster care child can be expensive. I believe that some Foster Parents would be more likely to take on more kids if we didn’t have to eat the expense up front.

We recently took in a teenager out of Kids First and he basically came to us with the clothes on his back. Aside from that initial expense of getting him all the clothes and supplies he needed, our household expenses went up immediately. Because he goes to school 30 miles round trip from our house with many “visits” and appointments on top of that, our biggest expense has been in gas.  Who would have thought that a gas expense should have been in our budget when planning to take in a new child?

Because we are discovering some of the “bumps” in the new placement journey currently, I couldn’t help but think how useful a “packing list” for surviving a new placement would be for foster dads. What are some of the necessities when preparing for a child to come into your home?

So, here is my version of a “new placement packing list”

1. Clothing voucher
2. Food voucher
3. GAS CARDS GAS CARDS GAS CARDS. (Oh did I say gas cards?)

Perks Essential to the “Process”:9228022908_27cff27c7d_z

1. Movie passes
2. Restaurant gift cards
3. YMCA/Gym passes
4. Baseball Tickets (for us it’s the Whitecaps!)

Something important to add to your list (or budget) for the beginning of a new placement is time spent together becoming a family. These experiences are essential to making the new child in your home feel safe and part of a community.