From Empty Nest to Full Hearts

FullSizeRenderThis was our last one out of the nest. We had just moved our last child into college and we were officially “Empty Nesters”.

What once was the “Sunny Delight” house which is depicted in the old Sunny Delight commercial, which advertises its delicious orange drink at the house where all the kids wanted to hang out because “that house was fun”, had now come to an end. All of our children and neighborhood kids had grown up and now moved on to college.

My husband Steve and I were ready to experience that freedom that comes with this season of life that allows you to sleep in, travel and listen to the radio station we wanted to.

My husband was enjoying  a great game of golf and I was living out my passion of working with young women at the Phoenix Dream Center rescued from human trafficking and crisis pregnancy. That’s where I met a young lady that had found herself pregnant and in need of a Mentor.

After a few short months this young mom gave birth to a little boy. During this time we had developed a relationship and had built a trust with one another. She had 6 other children that were already in the foster care system. Hours after giving birth the Department of Child Safety visited the hospital and placed her newborn baby into their care.

She called to inform me that DCS had taken her baby and asked if my husband and I would care for him until she could get him back. She said it would be temporary.

Remember we had just entered the “Empty Nest” season. Our children were 20, 22 and 24 years old. We hadn’t taken care of a baby for 20 years! This meant sleepless nights, car seats, diapers, bottles… I called my husband on the golf course and said, “Hey Honey, I guess we’re getting a baby tonight”. We have been married for 27 years. This was not the first phone call that surprised him, so he said OK. I assured him it was temporary and we were helping out the young mom I had been mentoring at the Phoenix Dream Center.

That night, after going through the paperwork, background checks, interviews with DCS, and a trip IMG_6573to Walmart to pick up everything we would need to care for a newborn, we had a baby boy brought to our home. I remember when he arrived I felt like I could hardly breathe. This was someone else’s child and we were responsible for caring for him. It was a lot to take in at the moment.

It was then that we were made aware of the Foster Care Crisis in Arizona. Shortly after, my husband and I committed to going through the foster/adopt process to become a licensed home. We would never look back to the days of sleep, travel and controlling the radio. How could we, after knowing what we know now? What these children taught us is that they need us to be “all in”. In the past two years we have had over 10 children in our home. Our home quickly returned to the joy, laughter, fun and games children bring. Somehow over the course of this little boy’s time with us he changed our world and our passion for caring for children in foster care. Our home (nest) and our hearts are full!

Steve and Teri Vogel

Foster parents




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *