Ryan and Sarah have been foster parents since 2012. Let’s see what has been working for them so far with four questions.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
Ryan is a civil designer and Sarah a teacher. We have two biological children, a 14-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. We also have a 4-year-old son whom we adopted through foster care. We serve our church in MANY various capacities through worship, youth, and children’s ministries. We also enjoy spending time with our family and friends.
We are a very busy family, but seem to function well with hectic schedules! To add to the business, our hearts are most content when all of our beds are full (although the house may be a disaster!) because our home has been opened to love and to provide for children in foster care.
What made your family decide to become a Clermont County foster home?
Our decision to enter into foster care came as a calling from God. We feel that this is one way He has called us to serve Him. Both Ryan and Sarah have spiritual gifts in the area of service, so this was not a difficult calling to follow. Our children love to serve others as well, so providing care to children in need is very fitting for our family.
What advice do you have for families who decide to foster who already have children of their own?
Foster care is such a great way to teach your children how to love and serve others. It gives your family the opportunity to share the blessings you have been given. Including your children in conversations, such as the ages of children you will foster, allows everyone in your household to have a voice. As adults, we obviously make the final decisions in our home, but try to discuss them with our children so there are no surprises for them.
You need to find what works best for your family. After almost five years of providing foster care and 13 multiple-age placements, we have found that we are most successful with younger children. Our 14- and 11-year-olds are able to develop better relationships with the younger ones and our 4-year-old loves the idea of a child close to his age to play with.
What are your thoughts on keeping sibling groups together?
Having provided care to several sibling groups, we see that these siblings need to be together. Of course, they argue like your own children might, but each likes to know that the other is there with them. The children struggle enough as it is to be removed from their families and what is familiar to them, but to have to be separated from their siblings as well?
We have also experienced that an older sibling can be so helpful when it comes to answering questions about what the younger siblings like/dislike, typical behaviors the younger sibling might be expressing, etc. It has been a blessing to be able to take in sibling groups and watch them all thrive as a ‘family’ should.