If you are new here I have been hosting a foster care series for the last three weeks called Unsung Heroes. The last three Mondays I have featured a foster mom and her family that has stood out for her devotion, dedication, and advocacy for all foster children. These women and their families are the Robin Hoods, the Dark Nights of our time–average people like you and me daring to change the world. I interviewed each foster mom about the ins and outs of foster care from the most commonly asked questions to the most sensitive. I’m confident that you’ll not only be inspired by each woman but may have some of your own questions answered and possibly leave with a new perspective!
Our final series family are the Bakers. Amy and her husband Curt live in Baltimore, Maryland with their three beautiful children: Henry age four, who they recently adopted from foster care; and their two beautiful foster children Finn, age three, and June, twelve months. Amy is a wedding photographer with a beautiful farmhouse Instagram page called @ournottinghamcottage and her husband Curt is a sales manager. They love spending time together as a family, thrifting, refurbishing furniture, and family movie nights. The Bakers have been fostering for one year.
Maegan: Amy, I’m so honored to have you and your family as my final series guests on the blog today. Let’s dive right in–what made you and Curt decide foster care was for your family?
Amy: I have wanted to since I can remember and when I met my husband it’s something we were both called to do.
Maegan: Timing is always a topic that comes up in foster care. When did you and Curt know it was ‘time’?
Amy: After we got married we were immediately ready to start our family and started the certification process about 6 months after our wedding.
Maegan: What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge as a foster parent?
Amy: All of the appointments and how busy your life instantly changes overnight.
Maegan: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a foster parent?
Amy: Make sure you and your spouse are 1000% on the same page and are open for love and heartbreak. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and say no if you aren’t ready yet.
Maegan: If you could give one piece of advice to a new foster parent what would it be?
Amy: Surround yourself with support. Whether that’s family, friends, or other foster parents having someone there to walk through this journey with you. My second piece of advice is ADVOCATE for your foster children.
Maegan: What is your goal as a foster parent?
Amy: Our goal started out to build our family with children who do not have a chance to have a full life. Since we have started, we have had the privilege to foster 7 children total. We have adopted one through the foster to adopt program, 2 long-term foster children, and 3 emergency weekend placements. Our goal now is to love each child unconditionally until their biological family is ready to get them back and in our long term placements, adoption.
Maegan: Fostering is not sustainable lifestyle and it’s important to have a plan before beginning. Does your family have a set of goals you plan to or a specific end date?
Amy: We are planning to foster until we have adopted 3 children. When our children reach at least 10 years old, we plan to restart fostering older children.
Maegan: What is the best thing about being a foster parent?
Amy: The opportunity to be in each child’s life. It’s truly the greatest gift to be able to impact these children and love on them.
Maegan: Attachment is one of, if not the biggest, concern most non-foster parents have about becoming a foster parent themselves. What are your thoughts on attachment?
Amy: Attachment is KEY for these children, it’s usually their biggest need when they come into care. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that doesn’t make this process extremely challenging and constantly bittersweet. We were beyond scared to start this process and get our hearts broken. We are currently in the middle of a potential reunification for one of our foster children we’ve had since birth. I can’t count how many tears have been shed during this process but we have been able to give this child the ability to attach to her biological family because we made sure she felt like she was part of our family.
Maegan: Why are you passionate about foster care?
Amy: Because there are children who need second chances and biological parents who need them too. Any of us could be in the situation these people are in.
Maegan: If you could only use three words to describe the certification process, what would they be? Why those words?
Amy: Exciting, tedious, informative
Maegan: There is a great need for foster parents all across America. Could you list some of the statistics for your area?
Amy: In 2017 Maryland reported 51,349 charges of neglect or abuse. In Baltimore City the number of foster children has varied from 2,000 – 6,000 in the last few years. From my research I could not find an exact amount at this current time but Baltimore City (which is where we’re certified) is extremely high.
Thank you so much Amy for letting me interview you today. And thank you so very much for all the hard work you and Curt do as a foster parents. And thank you for being a shining light to all foster children.
I hoped you enjoyed hearing from Amy and all our other foster moms, and that you learned something new today. Please leave Amy some love here in the comments and Instagram–foster parents need lots of encouragement and support! If you personally know Amy and Curt I’m asking that you to support them with your hands this week. Call and ask when you can come over and do some laundry and/or wash some dishes or bring them dinner. Don’t call and ask what you can do–call and say your coming over to help or bring a meal. And then pray for them! It takes a community to foster–it takes lots of help. So, show Amy and Curt how much you appreciate all they do by lending a helping hand. If you’d like to follow along on the Baker family’s journey you can find them here on Instagram!
Thank you to all the foster families who participated in my feature and thank you to all of you who have faithfully followed along. I hope you’ve been inspired and motivated!