Tell us a little about yourself.
“Hi! I’m Heather. I live in Southern California with my husband Dean and son Michael. I also have two step kids, Laurel and Casey. Laurel is in 10th grade and Casey just graduated from UC Irvine! I’m a stay at home mommy and a fitness coach helping people better their health one day at a time. I love fitness, eating clean, reading, shopping and taking NAPS!”
How long have you been a foster parent and how many kiddos have you fostered?
“I’ve been a foster parent since November 2012. We got our first placement, Michael, after waiting 7 months. Turns out God knew what he was doing in making me impatiently wait! Michael ended up being the one and we finalized his adoption on September 26, 2014.”
What made you want to become a foster mom?
“I’d always wanted to adopt and we had planned to do an international adoption from Russia. Relations with Russia broke down and adoptions closed. At that time, my husband just happened to be in the same building as a foster care agency. He presented the idea to me and I flat out said, “NO WAY!” I didn’t want to get attached. Well, that didn’t last long. Less than a month later we were in the classes and I was all in!”
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a mama of fosters?
“The biggest challenge in fostering for me was the visits with the bio family. To be totally honest, visits were heartbreaking. Not only did it hurt me to think that Michael might possibly go back to them at some point, but even more than that, the pain he showed during visits was almost unbearable. My husband and I had to supervise visits and that was not pleasant. We were not allowed to intervene at all, just watch, and when your baby is crying (more like wailing) and scared out of his mind…it’s very hard to not help.”
What’s the most rewarding part of being a foster mama?
“Without a doubt, for me, seeing how much Michael has changed in the last 19 months is the most rewarding part of being a foster mom. He has overcome more tragedy in his short little life than I can ever imagine. When Michael came to us he did not make any sounds at all, was not sitting up, and was not making any eye contact. He had been left for 8 months of his life in a crib with little or no interaction. Within a week he was smiling, babbling, and working on sitting up. Every day, every minute, we just showered him with love and attention; and he’s blossomed into such a sweet and special little soul. With his therapies he grows every single day, smiles more every single day, and loves more every single day.”
What’s your best piece of advice for new foster parents?
“Advocate and research! You must find out all you can about your child’s case. Find out what therapies may be needed or have been in place. Go in with eyes and mind wide open. Research all you can and advocate for what you think is needed. In a lot of cases, you are ALL your child has.”