Join our email list for breaking news and inspiring stories. Subscribe.
Lily came to us from the hospital when she was 6 days old. I’ll never forget. We got call from the agency at about 5 in the afternoon. I was working at a hotel at the time. I had just started my shift, and they said they have a newborn baby who needs a home and it seems like it could be the right thing for you. We said yes! I ran home and I just remember them dropping her off. I remember hearing the caravan pull up and I took a picture from my window as they were getting out of the car. It was this crazy situation of going from not being parents to being parents in the span of an hour.
About three years ago we decided we wanted to have a kid. As a gay couple, we were curious about the various ways to become parents. Foster care was something we didn’t really know anything about, but we sort of felt like if we had the opportunity to become parents, but also help in some way or save a child from a really unfortunate circumstance, we felt that that was our responsibility as parents who can’t conceive naturally.
We looked into the foster care to adoption option and got really excited about it. We ended up going to an orientation where many agencies presented. Sheltering Arms was the one that stood out to us. Looking back on our situation now, our daughter is 2 ½ and the adoption will be finalized soon, it really feels like it was meant to be. There were a lot of obstacles that came up, and we would think, if it’s meant to be, it will be.
When the woman from the Administration for Children’s Services dropped Lily off, she was in a blue fleece zip-up onesie. She handed us the baby in a carrier and a bag of formula, and that was all the possessions that she had. We still have the blue zip-up. We kept it and we can never get rid of it. It was everything in the world that belonged to her: a bag of formula and a blue onesie.
We were initially going to wait to officially open our home until June, but they called us in March when Lily came into care because it just seemed to be the right thing for us. All the sudden we had a baby 3+ months earlier than we thought we would, so we didn’t have a lot of baby gear. We had a crib and we had clothes, but we didn’t even know if we would have a boy or a girl when they called us.
That’s when our friends really jumped into action. One friend put a post on a message board saying that she had friends who were foster parents who had a baby and didn’t have much and she showed up at our place with a bassinet and clothes, and the agency gave us formula and diapers. We were very well taken care of.
Every day we were learning something new about being parents. It was just such a shift in the way that we lived in the short span of an hour. It was really intense, but also incredible. We were terrified, suddenly having this tiny little baby to care for, but luckily we had a lot of friends who had kids who were by our side providing support, and we had taken parenting classes with Sheltering Arms
Lily was born with a ton of hair. She’s 2 ½ now, but she has hair almost all the way down her back. Learning how to do her hair was definitely a process! We’re very lucky because she has two sisters who are also in foster care. Both have been adopted into different homes. We’re close with those families and we see them a lot and can get the girls together. We’re both really close to their families, too. They come see us and we go see them. She has cousins that she talks about and asks about.
The holidays are even more fun with Lily. Every year we try to get together with Lily’s sisters. Last year we spent Thanksgiving with my mom and this year we spent it with my husband’s family. Kids tend to bring out the best of the holidays. They force you to slow down and stay in the moment. That’s great at any time, but especially during the holidays.
Lily is such an incredible kid. She’s super independent. She wants to do everything by herself. She’s very friendly and loves to be around people. She’s also very smart and learns things really quickly. She’s very thoughtful. You can tell that the wheels are always turning in her head. She loves reading and imagination games. She’s just the perfect kid to us
The thing that was so heartening to us when we were going to our first trainings was that all potential foster parents had to sign a form saying that they are LGBT affirming. That was significant to us. It’s not just that the agency is in compliance, Sheltering Arms has shown that LGBT affirmation is really, really important to them. At every agency function we’ve ever attended, every meeting or training, the foster care gala where we met the CEO a few weeks ago, everybody talks about the important role and responsibility foster care agencies have in supporting LGBT kids because the need is so great. The agency has always stressed the need for foster parents to put themselves in the shoes of kids who have been kicked out of their homes simply for being who they are. Sheltering Arms doesn’t just toe the line. They really appreciate what a strong role foster parents play in welcoming these kids.
I encourage prospective foster parents to ask questions. I think people get scared off from going the foster to adoption route. Especially in the LGBT community, there are a lot of people out there who want to start families but fear that it could take forever or that the adoption isn’t guaranteed. I would say that we had all of those concerns going in as well, but we were very vocal. We asked a lot of questions. We talked about our feelings, and it turned out to be the absolute perfect situation for us.