Claire and Lorretta’s Story
Mike and Ashley wanted to help hurting children. They researched, talked with friends, and realized God was leading them to become foster parents. After training and licensing, Mike and Ashley were overjoyed to receive the call that two girls needed a family to care for them.
The girls arrived and to Mike and Ashley’s surprise, things were bumpy despite all their training and preparation. The girls missed their mom, their home, their school, and their older siblings. They showed behaviors that resulted from some hard circumstances they had experienced. Never having parented at all before, let alone children with challenging behaviors, the foster parents were at a loss. As Ashley said, “We thought it would be like babysitting!”
On top of all that, COVID-19 hit. Mike and Ashley panicked. They wondered how life with the girls would work in the face of remote learning, no respite help, economic uncertainty, and the stress of children who were already acting out. They worried that without help, they might not be able to continue fostering Claire and Lorretta. That was when they found Chosen.
Chosen Walks Alongside the Caregivers
Chosen helped Mike and Ashley understand their own backgrounds and how their own history was impacting their fears, worries, and interactions with the girls. Their Chosen Care Manager asked questions that led to the realization that they were actually making some of the behaviors worse. The foster parents learned that girls weren’t on a mission to make their lives difficult; rather, the behaviors were strategies to cope with the grief and loss they were experiencing.
The couple implemented the tools and techniques that their Care Manager gave them as part of their customized family plan. As a result, their connection to the girls strengthened and behaviors began to improve. Peace was restored in their home and Mike and Ashley’s commitment to parent the girls strengthened.
The Girls Are Reunified with their Birth Mother
Meanwhile, Claire and Lorretta’s birth mother, Maggie, was working out her plan so that the girls could return to her care. As the foster home stabilized, visits between Maggie and the girls were going well. Several months later, the case worker let Mike and Ashley know that reunification was likely. This was bittersweet news for Mike and Ashley because they didn’t want the girls to leave. Chosen supported them as they grieved their own losses and walked the road of preparing the girls to transition back home to mom.
To make this transition easier, Maggie also started working with a Chosen Care Manager, who helped her prepare for challenging behaviors likely to occur from the girls after the move back home. Maggie learned that the foster parents could provide valuable information about how the girls had changed in the year of being in foster care. Both Care Managers helped the adults understand that they could all be supports to Claire and Loretta and what each other’s roles could be moving forward.
Claire and Lorretta did return to Maggie, whose Care Manager worked to support her with parent coaching long after the child welfare system was out of her life. A year after reunification, Mike and Ashley will watch Claire and Lorretta so that Maggie can have a break. Maggie and the girls have even had Thanksgiving and Christmas at Mike and Ashley’s house.
How Can Chosen Help You?
Struggle is inevitable when children are removed from their home. Chosen provides the help needed to strengthen families, regardless of where that family is on their journey.
To read more stories of hope and healing, please visit our Chosen Stories library.