My husband Ken and I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in June of 2016 after we made the decision for him to be done playing professional baseball. He played both Minor and Major League Baseball for the Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies. We didn’t have any kids, and we weren’t trying to get pregnant. For us, adoption had always been on our hearts as our “plan A”, but we didn’t necessarily have a direction for how that would happen or what it would look like. A friend of mine mentioned foster care to me, and how you get a stipend every month for taking children into your home. Later, I mentioned it to Ken and we both said, “eh…no, not for us”.
You see, the truth was that we had no idea what foster care even was, nor did we know anyone who fostered kiddos. A couple days later, Ken was reading the absolute heart-wrenching statistics of the number of kids without a home and in the system. We signed up for and attended an orientation a couple days later, and never looked back.
Orientation is the first step. We did a quick Google search, “foster care orientation in Scottsdale, AZ” and went to the nearest, soonest one available. It’s a simple class, and I always tell people, this is just to get your feet wet, the first step in letting your curiosity (or lack there of) turn into something more. You can now view orientations online through this link: https://dcs.az.gov/fosteradoption/steps-becoming-foster-parent.
After that, we found an agency. This agency gave us a list of starting dates for
something called PS-MAPP. This is an 11-week training that is mandatory to get licensed. It sounds daunting, but it’s actually very informative. Now the mandatory training is called Foster Parent College, with a portion presented online and a portion in person.
Fast-forward to half way through the typical 6-month process that it takes to get licensed (there are a series of home studies, paperwork, classes, etc.), the licensing agency told us if we got pregnant, that they wouldn’t license us. They wanted us to enjoy our first baby, and not have the burden of potentially disrupting a foster placement when our biological baby came. We replied by saying that was totally fine, and that we were actually preventing pregnancy, so no worries. A week later, to our surprise, we found out we were pregnant. At first, it was a little hard to fully celebrate. You see we had our hearts so set on fostering and potentially adopting. We began to call supervisor after supervisor, and the agency called multiple meetings as the months went on and we kept getting stuff done in the process to get licensed. Finally, they said they would license us. And they did. We got licensed January 2017.
February 8, 2017, when we were about 5 months pregnant, we welcomed our first foster child, Naudia, a two-day-old baby girl straight from the hospital. When she was 4.5 months old, our biological baby girl Jude was born.
Fast forward to June 13, 2018, right before Jude turned one, we adopted Naudia (she was 16 months old at this point). Little did we know until right before the adoption, that when you adopt from foster care, the state pays you almost the same stipend every month even after you adopt up until the child turns 18 or until they graduate high school, whichever comes later. On top of that, Naudia’s healthcare is completely covered by the state.
People always told us we were crazy for taking on two babies at the same time. However, we have been nothing but blessed, and now these two sisters, 4.5 months apart, (currently 20 months and 16 months) are forever best friends. We have recently taken in another placement as well. She is now 3 months old. We took her in when Naudia was 18 months and Jude was 13 months, and we got her when she was 2 days old as well! Life with these babies has been nothing short of amazing; our family doesn’t look “traditional”, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
If you are interested in fostering/adopting or have any questions, PLEASE feel free to reach out and we would love to chat! We are an open book, and love educating individuals on the process and just how amazing this journey is.
All photos by Laure Beglin Photography www.laurenbeglinphotography.co
Here is a link about Orientations: https://fosterarizona.org/the-difference-between-a-faith-based-and-a-general-orientation/