This is Vanessa. She and her four siblings were bouncing from home to home in foster care. Finally they ended up in a Christian home where she and her siblings found their permanent family.
This story is ever so powerful and exemplifies Christ’s love and the impact we have on children and families as they enter our homes while in foster care. This account of Vanessa’s story begins when she was thirteen years old.
“It was definitely scary. I had four siblings and we were all separated. So we kind of hopped around a lot. That was definitely scary for me to be separated and just to be moving constantly. And just being a teen is hard because people don’t really like teens. That was really hard for me.”
When Vanessa and her siblings first came into foster care, they were all separated and placed in different homes. A foster family at the time only wanted to keep her baby sister Mary and not the others. As it turned out, in order for that foster mom to keep her baby sister, she had to take all five of them into her home. Because of her little sister they all ended up being together.
After some time that foster family wanted to go on a vacation and decided not to take their foster kids. In order to go the family had to put all five children into respite care. However, there was no guarantee they would all stay together during their vacation.
This is when foster mom, Tammy, came into the picture, “Well, I got a call to see if we would respite. For anyone who doesn’t know, respite is babysitting. And I was asked to respite a two-year-old. So I called my husband and he said, ‘Yeah, that will be fine.’“ So Tammy decided to contact the foster mom that was going on vacation to work out the details. However, she quickly learned that there were four other siblings, two boys and three girls altogether, who were very close. In fact, she learned they all chose to sleep in the same room together because they were so scared of being separated again.
Tammy’s immediate desire was to keep all five together during respite care. So she said, “Let me call you back.” Next, she made a few phone calls and everyone said, “Yes, we were good to go.” Vanessa recounts, “So we pulled up to the house, this gigantic house. I grew up dirt poor. The dad is working out in the garden and they have a maid. I’m all upset. And we’re going to this really rich house. Her children are all standing outside. I’m (feeling) like I don’t want to be here. And they came in and took our bags and they were really kind. Then the mom started helping and doing things and showing love and being kind. For me I never had anything like that.”
“I realized that this is the home I need for my siblings. So I wrote her a letter asking her to take my siblings and I would leave the home. I knew she would take care of them and treat them like they needed to be treated. And she would love them and wouldn’t let anything happen to them. I was willing to sacrifice being with them to let them be loved and treated the way they needed to be treated. I was asking her to I leave me (out) if she would take them because I knew that they would have the life they could never have.”
Tammy’s response to Vanessa’s request was, “Of course, this is where you all need to be, this is what all you need to do.”
Vanessa shared, “I was always the odd one out of my siblings. I was mom to them. And when she and my dad said I want all of you, it broke my heart. I thought this was unrealistic. This can’t be possible. I’m a teenager and I have “issues” you don’t want me. This is not possible.”
As Tammy contemplated the entire situation she said, “We sit there day in day out and the trauma that goes on and our heart breaks. And the stories that we hear like there was only ketchup in the refrigerator. Even when they showed up at respite the first night Landon ate five chicken legs and three helpings of macaroni and cheese. To find out that they were still struggling with food at the foster home they were at. There were still things going on and our heart was like, no, this is where you need to be.”
Vanessa concluded by saying, “A lot of people are adopted, but they refer to their parents as their adoptive father and mother. I don’t do that because just as God has adopted us it’s the same thing with them, they have adopted me. They are my father and my mother. Just like God is our father not my adoptive father.”
Right now Vanessa is in college studying business and then plans to start her own company just like her dad did. There are many more Vanessa’s out there right now in crisis needing to be rescued. With your help we can give them hope through a loving, caring Christian foster home.
Learn more about how you can get involved through One Child Now.