Real LIFE Stories: Double Income No Kids {Fostering}

I admit I’m a bit partial for Katy, my little sister. It’s been a priveledge to get to grow up with someone this passionate, beautiful inside and out and also living out her beliefs in a real and challenging way. Part of our month dedicated to children is about a call to action in a warm and gentle way. This is her story, be inspired and uplifted.  ~Heidi

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I’ve written about David & I’s  journey to marriage- the exciting moments of the first glance, first kiss, and now celebrating our first 5 years of marriage together. Now it’s on to the next stage of the journey… {{Dramatic Pause}}….KIDS!!

We were labeled “Double Income No Kids” when we first moved to Colorado and began looking at community groups at our church. We were told to look in the “D.I.N.K.S” category- ie- married, working couples but with no children. We laughed. :) Any young couple will tell you every time they go to a family reunion the first question people ask you is, “when are you going to have little ones?” A sweet question but to be honest, it always left me with a feeling of failure, or pressure to produce something I wasn’t ready for. Inside I always wished people would ask me, “how is your career going” or “what are you passionate about?” I say this because I have been in social work for 5 years now and I absolutely love my career. It’s hard even calling it a career because I consider it more a ministry and calling. I started my career meeting with low income mothers teaching them infant safety & early childhood education. I spent my days teaching young moms how to bond with their babies, work through post partum depression & care for their infant. This exposed me to an environment I had no clue existed. We went into lice infected homes, where babies were sleeping in drawers & boxes on the floor. I worked with incarcerated pregnant mothers who had severe drug addictions. Encouraging them to have a healthy pregnancy despite the fact they knew the child would be removed from them at birth.  While this exposure opened my eyes and made me cry so many nights  it also gave me compassion and empathy for young, struggling mothers.

I then worked as a medical caregiver, working directly with foster children who had medical/developmental challenges due to abuse or neglect. The most difficult part of my job was working with the babies who were withdrawing from methadone. Holding a baby withdrawing from a drug, with the constant crying, tremors and and inability to self comfort was the most heartbreaking work I’ve ever done. This began my love and admiration for foster parents who I saw put aside their own emotions each day in order to care for a child. They bear the burden of grief of these foster children, playing the role of healer, while also balancing the needs of the biological parents. Mentoring and guiding them, assisting them with continuing the relationship with their child while he was in foster care. I got to see foster parenting up close and saw them bravely working towards reunification with the child’s parents, who had given them their injuries in the first place.    I saw a love beyond all love- Christ’s love- for those who needed it. 

For isn’t it Jesus who said,  “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

After working as a medical caregiver I then began a new job recruiting and training foster parents. My experience with foster children gave me a drive and determination to find them a home & rid the world of group homes and shelters- basically modern day orphanages. After gaining the knowledge that I have, both David and I decided that we needed to take action, and pray about becoming foster/adoptive parents.  Just read the statistics:

      * According to the latest reports, there are about 408,000 children and youth currently in foster care in the United States.  (For more info on foster care visit National Foster Care Month

      * Each year more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care system without being adopted. Today there are 104,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted ranging in age from less than a year old to 21. (For more statistics on Adoption from Foster Care Visit AdoptUSKids

Those numbers alone are reason to do something. In February we completed our Foster Parent Training. We are starting our interviewing and home study process. This journey we have traveled to this point has not been without doubts, uncertainty, tons of WHAT ARE WE DOING moments but still…I have to do something. Now we may have our own children someday, I don’t deny the draw of pregnancy, the idea of producing a little chubby mini me but I can’t seem to shake this feeling that if I ignore these statistics and pretend that it is not a global epidemic then I am lost.

Now I just want to share I do not fault anyone for having their own child, please don’t take this as a finger pointing at your life choices. David and I have chosen not to have children at this time. We’ve never tried for pregnancy and honestly, don’t feel a desire to do so. When I describe this feeling of not wanting my own children I get a lot of strange looks and defensive statements. I just think you should have children when you want to have children- we don’t yet. I know that if I were to find out I was pregnant tomorrow I would be happy. I would rejoice! I have to admit, I think this has done wonders for my marriage. David and I have had these precious five years together to grow as a couple. We are so in sync with one other, I truly find this time is sweet!

Again, this is our decision and it is based on our desire to have this time to pour into our ministry. I think one of the difficulties for me now is that I am currently working directly with teens in foster care, parole and probation assisting them through the transition to adulthood. I have about 20 kids on my caseload currently and I feel like they are my children! I spend all my waking hours walking alongside these youth and supporting them whether it’s transitioning out of foster care on their own, or keeping them accountable to their parole guidelines or how to successfully graduate probation. I feel grateful that I can give them my focus and attention. I pray for each of them daily and I am happy that God has placed them in my life to care for. This energy spent on my kids helps I think take away the feeling of needing my own child. So perhaps that is where my love & energy is poured into. For whatever reason, I am completely and utterly content. With my marriage, my career, my life. I think it is when we live life with an open hand and say to God, “do what you will” is when we find a peace. I admit- I am fearful of taking a foster child in my home, I am scared of the unknown, that I will love them so fiercely my heart will break when they leave- but my desire to serve, nurture and protect these children outweighs my own fears. I ask you to please keep David and I in your thoughts and prayers as we start this journey towards foster parenting.

This quote from Mother Teresa always helps guide me and put life into perspective,

  “If you can’t feed a hundred, then just feed one.”

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  • Sherryk

    So good Katy and so brave to stand on what you feel the Lord is calling you into.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarea.clark Sarea Clark

    Awesome story Katy! Very inspiring! I am a firm believer that you don’t have to ‘birth’ children to be a great mom! Praying for you guys!

  • http://twitter.com/dentistmel melissa weintraub

    What an amazing story! I praise Katy for her story and her fostering children in the system. I work with very unpoverished children who are in the foster system, who never get a foster parent, and never get to experience the love of a family. They are bounced around only to be truly unhappy. I wish more people were like Katy! I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart!

  • http://TheBusyNothings.com Heidi

    I know Katy would have responded but she was in the hospital yesterday morning but seems to be ok. Thanks Melissa for taking the time to care and comment! I think people like you guys are amazing and I hope to be where you guys are some day!

  • Katelyn Watson

    Love this! Cheers from Dinklife.com