Kids Life Tuscaloosa January/February 2022 - Page 18

My Foster Care Journey

By Stephanie Osborn
The Dance Centre is so excited to be moving to our “ forever home ” and new location in January 2022 . With 11,000 square feet of newly constructed dance space including 5 studios complete with custom Harlequin marley dance fl oor , ballet barres , and acrobatic equipment . Our dancewear store “ Primadonnas ” is located inside for all of your dancewear needs . Classes will begin in our new building January 10th . We are still accepting enrollment and would love for your dancer to join us and be a part of # sweethometdc . Come check us out 5100 Union Station Northport !

As I ’ m typing this up , I can hear the sweet giggles of a toddler placement my family has from our local foster care system .

It blows my mind to look back and see how far God has brought my family and me . From time to time , I find myself pondering all the things He still has for us . Looking back and knowing how He has orchestrated it thus far , I know He will completely do far more than I could ever imagine .
As a young girl , I can remember having a deep desire to have children one day just as other little girls probably do . But my dream did not stop there ; I also wanted to care for other children that were not biologically mine . I did not know what that would look like . I ’ m not sure I even knew that foster care existed . I thought adoption was the only avenue . As I became an older teenager , I would talk about these deep desires and could not understand why many people would immediately go to the potential negatives . “ What about ….” or “ what if …”. Fill in the blank and I have probably heard it . But it did not matter to me ; no one could have ever talked me out of it . When seriously dating , I would essentially tell the guy “ Eventually I want to have children , I would like to adopt , and if that is not for you , not sure this is going to work out .” When I said that to my now-husband , he responded “ well it is not for me right now ; however , I cannot tell you it won ’ t be in the future .” We dated for two years , got married and started our beautiful family . God has blessed us with three beautiful , unique , and high-spirited girls very close in age . Currently , they are 10 , 8 , and 7 . When our youngest was around 1 , we knew we were done having biological babies . Throughout the years I would occasionally bring up fostering or adoption and he would always say the same thing “ I ’ m not ready , but I can ’ t speak for the future .” Every time it stung a little , but it never consumed me until our youngest was around 3 . When I brought it up , he did not say what I was wanting to hear , and finally , I came unraveled . We had a big argument and while I regret how I handled it , God used it to grow me . I saw I needed to take a step back and realized part of my growing was to wait on him . Waiting . Gosh , it is one of the hardest things to do , but God was so faithful through it . Around a year and a half later , we were on our way to see extended family in Tampa for Spring Break when out of nowhere he said “ I think it ’ s time .” I was just as ecstatic as the days our girls were born .
Looking back , I can see that God was drawing us to people and places to accomplish what He had known from the beginning . A year before this , we knew two families who started their foster care journey . One was my close friend who was a single foster mom . The other was a sweet family we attended small groups with , and as we sat in that small group at our church , we would listen to our friends talk about their fostering journey through the local DHR . For the next year , we would hear nonspecific prayer requests ( due to confidentiality ) and it pulled on my heart so much I knew then that ’ s what God had planned for my family ; however , I had to wait . So , when my husband said “ it ’ s time ,” he went to the dhr . alabama . gov website , printed , and filled out the application .
We were accepted into the Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety training class also known as TIPS , which is an extensive 10-week program . Vineyard Church , which is now Hope City Church in Tuscaloosa , hosted the TIPS training this go around ( shout out to all the churches who have done or plan to host this training !) and provided childcare and meals for future foster families . Without their commitment to serving the foster care community , my family would have had a really hard time completing the training due to the need for childcare . This training covered many areas such as identifying trauma and meeting the needs of these children , but it also encourages your family to identify what type of placements you all are equipped to take in . After the training , the paperwork , and home study , our home became approved in late January 2020 . At that point , we were officially licensed to be a foster family !
When we initially signed up for fostering , we had many preconceived notions of what we thought it would look like . Some of those notions were built upon while some were completely torn down . We received our first placement within weeks . He