Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our First Year as Foster/Adoptive Parents
Sara Kinser Jones
June 16, 2010

Presentation given to new class of foster/adoptive parents completing MAPP classes.

Good Evening. I would like to thank Fonda and Michelle for giving me the opportunity to come and speak to you about our journey as foster/adoptive parents. About a year ago we sat where you are sitting excited about the prospects of having children come into our home and very clear as to what we thought we knew and what would happen. I have never been accused of lack of confidence and as I sat in your seat I felt prepared and confident about who we were, what we wanted and what was going to happen over the coming months.

I guess like all journeys, the plan should be set, but the plan should always be flexible and the best way to meet your destination is to be willing to accept and keep going even when detours are placed in front of you.

My name is Sara Jones and my husband and I decided about two years ago we would like to foster with the hopes of adopting a child in need of love and a home. We spent the first year praying over the decision and after that first year we called and enrolled in the MAPP classes. We came into the classes and set out on the journey to just adopt. We have three children and we were afraid that they, and we, would not deal well with having to say goodbye to children we became attached to. We set out to adopt, preferring to adopt a boy--not interested in babies, looking mostly to adopt a child between 3-6.

We felt as we completed the classes that we knew what we wanted and that was one little boy to love and to make our own. Soon we would realize that what we thought we were so confident about would become a very organic idea and we were moved and we were changed by the experiences that were afforded us through the year.

As we completed the paperwork, we were matched to two little boys. We were more than willing to take a sibling set and were so excited to move forward. We felt so blessed to be matched to children so quickly. The more we thought about it, the more excited we were that there would be 2 children to adopt. They would have each other, someone they looked like, someone that shared their personal history. This was the first change to our original plan. Over the next few months, we developed a very real relationship with two little boys we never met. We read their history, we studied their pictures and we waited to meet them. We scheduled the meeting with the team that supported the boys, caseworkers, foster parents, and etc. We learned a lot about the boys and at the end of the meeting we had agreed to move forward and with a set visitation plan.

The morning of our first visit, we received a call from Fonda letting us know the foster parents who had the boys for the past 2 years just could not let them go. Nathan and I were heartbroken because for months those boys were our boys. We grieved this loss, we for a few weeks were not sure if we wanted to continue on this journey, but we came to the second change of heart on our journey. We reaffirmed that our goal was to provide a home to a child who needed one. We found comfort in the fact that these two little boys did not meet our criteria, they did not need a home, they had a home and two parents who loved them. We had played a part of them finding a home in the home they were used to and we were at peace and excited for the boys.

We went through a few files, we asked a lot of questions and nothing felt right. We talked with Fonda and she supported our decision to say no when our gut was telling us no. We received an email at the beginning of this year about 4 little girls, ranging in age from 4 to newborn. This was nowhere close to our plan, but we took a night to pray over the situation and think about it. Nathan and I both came to the conclusion that this felt like something we wanted to learn more about. Fonda ultimately shared with us that she did not think this particular situation was not in the best interest of our family. But for a week or so we really had the chance to think about our original idea of what we wanted. I guess the problem was that statement, “What we wanted.” We decided it was not about us. It was about giving a home to a child in need. We realized that for now, for our family and our set parameters, the need was there for foster parents as well as adoptive parents. If our goal was to give a home to a child or children who needed one, then we need to take a leap of faith and open ourselves up to meeting the need--so we called Fonda and shared with her our desire to open our home to foster.

This past week we received our first placement a sibling set of three children ages 7, 4, and 20 mos. It was a short term placement of six days, but it was an amazing experience and we know we are now doing what we had set out to do. We do hope to adopt and open our home to a child or children on a permanent basis, but we are glad to be sharing our hearts and our home now to children in need. We have had a very emotional year that has changed us and opened us in many ways. We look forward to what the next year on this journey will bring. I pray that each of you finds your heart expanding as we have found ours.


  1. you are my personal hero. I love you.

  2. sara that is amazing. I love you guys so much and will be daily praying for you in this journey of sacrifice and love. one of our close friends here works with the foster program and it is amazing to see the difference she is making but also the love she is getting to give to these kids. Ed and I have talked about fostering when we get back, we'll see where God leads us, but i'll definitely be reading about your experience

  3. Thanks Andee...I love you and you are now and have always been the person I look up to! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

    Thanks so much Laine!