Foster Fridays: Interview with Lauren
We wanted to feature some parents that have a heart for children in need of forever homes. If you’d like to share your story, feel free to contact us!
Today we have an interview with Lauren. I met Lauren at the Filled retreat for foster/adoptive moms. I was lucky to have her as a roommate! Her story was such an inspiration to me that I had to interview her! She’s a single mom in PA. She said that in her area there’s no foster support group--she’s doing this alone, figuring out the system as she goes! Her strength and faith are inspiring! We hope this is a blessing and encouragement to other prospective or active single foster parents! Thank you, Lauren, for sharing with us!
FLM: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
Lauren: My name is Lauren and I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania, born and raised. About three years ago I moved into my grandfather, Guy’s 1,000 square- foot ranch home to help take care of him. And about 2 years ago we got a weird little cat named Mr. Marshmallow. And four months ago we welcomed in two toddlers (“Big J”- 3 years old, and “Lady J”- 2 years old) after I became a licensed foster mom in September of 2018. So our little ranch house is pretty full now!
I am a very passionate and outgoing person. I like to think I have all the answers to everything but I really am an expert on very little. I have a BA in Fashion Management and Marketing that I earned while living in the UK for 3 years. And I also completed a MA online last summer in Global Missions. My heart is for people first (and always,) so my goal is to open a boutique that sells fair trade goods and supports/employs marginalized people. I am also a lover of Jesus, coffee, donuts, laughing, talking, shopping and all things old/antique/historical! I also have a blog and YouTube channel called My Own Kind of Beautiful that documents my love of fashion, faith in Jesus, journey into foster care and so much more!
FLM: Can you tell us about how your interest in fostering first came about?
Lauren: I have always wanted to adopt since I was a little girl- why, I don’t know. I am not adopted, and grew up knowing very few adoptees. But I always had this dream of having a large family with kids of every color and creed. I don’t think I understood what foster care was until I was much older. As I got older (and became a Christian) I think I just assumed I’d be married with children by now. I’m 26 years old, and that hasn’t been God’s story for me -yet. In the fall of 2017 I started praying about pursuing foster care as a single, and God said, “DO IT!” So I did.
FLM: What's been the hardest part about fostering for you?
Lauren: The loneliness and isolation has been the hardest thing for me, for sure! I am a very social person and was very active in my church and in my friendships before getting a placement. It is just so much harder to maintain connection with two toddlers that need to be in bed by 7:30pm- and then I am stuck alone until they wake at 7:30am. There is no husband to chat with and my 95-year-old grandpa isn’t much for conversation. It’s tough- but I’m finding ways to reach out. Another difficult thing is loving the biological family well, and not just in word and niceties. But truly loving on them, and being on their side. I know that is something all foster parents deal with, married or single.
FLM: What's been the most rewarding part?
Lauren: The kids! They are the best, and the hardest, blessing I’ve ever received. They are stretching me and challenging me in ways that I didn’t know I could stretch, or that I didn’t know I needed to be challenged in. It’s beautiful. Also being a part of the redemption plan God has for them is so humbling! And lastly, I am living out something I dreamed of since I was a little girl- being a mama!! (I was 100% that little girl with alllll of the baby dolls- I even took them to the grocery store- and had names picked out for my future brood.)
FLM: What’s one thing you’ve learned from your experience that you weren’t expecting?
Lauren: I’m learning more and more that this foster care thing (and this life in general) is so soo not about me. I’m a servant and the Lord is using me.
I’m also just learning basic mom skills! I got thrown into motherhood with two toddlers within hours of me knowing of their existence. So, I am learning how to parent, how to handle daycares, doctors, asthma, discipline, and so much more. Added to that is learning about the crazy world of foster care, case workers, visits, court etc.
FLM: In conclusion, what would you say to families interested in foster care?
Lauren: If you are interested, pursue it! These kids need you. And to say it bluntly, they don’t have time for your (or anyone’s) excuses. They don’t need perfection, or for you to “get it together,” or for you to wait for the “right” time (as if there is such a thing)…they just need you. Your love, time, attention, family, and a safe home. That’s it. Don’t overthink it- just do it- it will be your best “Yes!”