Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
By: Chris Jenkins, P.E. Project Manager Site Department
One of my wife’s friends used to joke with me that she would be a mom to a lot of kids. Well, that was an understatement and no joke!
My wife Andrea and I married in 2008 and like most newlyweds talked about starting our own family. However, God had other plans for us. We felt Him leading us toward Fostering. The need is so great! Due to circumstances out of our control we would have to wait several years to become foster parents. During the economic downturn in 2009, I lost my job and Andrea’s hours were cut. Luckily I was able to find a job within a few months but it was located out of state and required that we move to Mississippi. This move was a blessing in disguise because it required us to start over, rely on each other and allowed Andrea to find a career path.
While in Mississippi we looked into foster care, but we both knew that we would eventually be moving back to Alabama. In August of 2015, I accepted the Project Manager position at Sain and we were able to move back home. As soon as we moved back home and renovated our house, Andrea requested and submitted the paperwork to become foster parents.
Three weeks into the 10 week foster care classes we received a call from DHR that two girls where coming into care, and we were a good fit. That is where our journey began! We and the girls were nervous, and this was all very new to all of us well. This was the girls’ first time in foster care, our first time as foster parents, and on top of it all the Social Worker was new too! Fortunately for us God showed much grace! If there could ever be a perfect placement this was it! We had a few bumps but nothing major, and the girls were a joy to have in our home.
Now we are 2 years into our journey, and 17 kids have come through our home ranging in age from 1 to 18. We currently have 5 children that are still with us and are in the process of adopting our first. It has been a challenge to say the least and some days we wonder what we have gotten ourselves into. Sometimes we wonder if it is worth it! Let me just go ahead and say there is no doubt it is worth it!! These children survive things that most of us can’t even imagine! The most frequent statement we hear is “I could never do what you are doing, because I couldn’t give them back”. I say this in the most loving way I can, trust me, you CAN give them back when it is the best thing for the child! The most important thing is it’s NOT about US but about kids who have been abandoned and neglected by the very people they trust and depend on the most! They didn’t ask for this. It amazes me just how well these kids adjust after all they have faced in life! Fostering is the hardest thing we have ever done in our lives and also the most rewarding!!