The 65 foster families that currently foster with The United Methodist Children’s Home are diverse: young, old, married, single, first-time parents and empty nesters, they make a world of difference to the youth they bring into their homes. Could your home also provide a welcoming safe haven for children in need?
“This is our journey together, this is our story: 38 years and 57 kids later.”
Cindy and Joe Beaulieu’s home outside Gainesville is a constant hub of activity. As Cindy bottle-feeds their three-month-old grandson, Joe arrives home with their six-year-old foster son, back from school where he had gotten into trouble for pushing another student.
Cindy hugs the child and then patiently asks, “Why did you push your friend? How would you feel if he pushed you?”
She explains that he has been through a handful of other foster homes, but they believe that they can provide stability and love. Children’s Home foster parents strive to be the last or only family that a child must have while in foster care.
“Every child deserves a chance to overcome circumstances that are most usually not of their making. They need advocates to be their voices and most importantly to give them a safe place to fall,” said Cindy.
Two-year-old foster brothers sleepily walk to the living room after waking from their nap. One climbs on the sofa into Cindy’s arms and the other to Joe’s lap in the rocking chair. A short time later, Cindy and Joe’s adopted daughter stops by on her way to high school soccer practice.
She is one of five siblings that the Beaulieu’s fostered and then adopted in 2009. Many people thought the adoption was a happy ending for the children.
“It was just the beginning for all of us together,” said Joe. “Like any family, there are many ups and downs. When I recall the story of Jesus on the beach and one seeing two sets of footprints – there are days I only see one set. Jesus is carrying all of us on the bad days.”
But even on hard days, the Beaulieus feel the support not only of Jesus but also of their neighbors and Children’s Home staff who look out for the entire family.
“Every time we have ever needed something, Children’s Home staff have made it happen,” said Cindy. “They have helped us with respite, diapers, clothing, transporting a child to a doctor’s appointment, and more.”
“They even reminded us that our dog was due for his yearly vaccinations,” added Joe.
Though fostering can be sometimes be a challenge, the Beaulieus believe it is immensely rewarding and that the children have given them much more than they have given the children.
“This is our journey together, this is our story: 38 years and 57 kids later,” said Cindy. “It has been an incredible journey too!”
“We had been hoping for three years to have biological children, but when that didn’t happen as quickly as we had hoped, we began looking into other options. After researching adoption, we gravitated to foster care because we wanted to meet the greatest need. There are so many children out there who need homes. Fostering became the clearest thing for us to do.”
Rev. Lindsey Solomon and her husband, Kris, were unsure what to expect or how to prepare for their first foster placement in February. They were extremely cautious and asked The Children’s Home for a single child as a first placement, one from birth to three years old.
“As first-time parents, we were afraid we wouldn’t know what we were doing,” said Lindsey. “We were just glad to bring a child into our home.”
But when they learned that their three-year-old foster son may be moved to another home to be with his six-year-old sister, the Solomons said no way! Plans were made for his sister to move into the Solomon home instead.
“We wanted them to be together in our home!” said Lindsey. “We are so glad to be there for the children and their birth family. This is our ministry to them.”
The Solomons have no long-term goal set for fostering. They simply want to provide care and love to the foster children who spend time in their home.
“We are happy at the prospect of the children having permanency one day, whatever that looks like,” said Lindsey.
The Children’s Home has supported this new foster family by helping to set appointments, providing transportation and respite care, and registering a child for school. The Solomons are part of the extended Children’s Home family of foster families, all of whom receive personalized assistance as they open their homes to children in need.
And for Lindsey, associate pastor at Kennesaw UMC, faith has provided very clear support as well.
“God has been in every moment of this, from the training to home study to our approval as foster parents and first placements, as He will be when we wait for the next children to come along,” she said.
The Solomons are expecting a baby in October, and will continue to provide a loving home for their two foster children as long as it is needed.
The Solomons’ foster journey is just beginning. Could yours be next?