Sometimes life surprises you. Abby, a western Iowa social worker, was starting her journey to become a foster parent when she learned she was pregnant.
“My first foster placement was when I was 36 weeks pregnant as a single mom,” Abby says. “It’s not easy, but anybody can do it and it’s always the right time.”
Abby had worked for a human services agency and knew there were hundreds of Iowa kids in need of a safe, temporary home. So when she met her now husband, Zach, he joined her and became licensed so the couple could continue making an impact for Iowa teens and sibling groups. Abby and Zach have also adopted a son, Logan, and fostered 10 children. The couple strives to keep siblings together whenever possible, but a new challenge arose when their latest sibling group arrived at their home.
The group included three siblings, but Abby and Zach only had enough bedrooms to house two of them. Adding a third sibling would require the family to build a new bedroom with the specific safety protocols required to foster a child. Abby mentioned the situation to a colleague, who immediately went to work connecting Abby with a contractor and creating a Facebook fundraiser for the family’s construction needs.
The fundraiser raised $3,000 within two days.
“I’m not good at asking for help. A few of our friends donated, but a lot of the donors didn’t even know us,” Abby says. “You see so much negative, but people are good. People were willing to put money towards someone they don’t even know just to make a difference.”
The following weekend, Abby and Zach were able to build the bedroom they needed to welcome the third sibling. And, the child’s two siblings – who were already living in the home – helped decorate the room.
While foster parenting comes with its challenges, Abby says this experience shows how much of a support system is out there for those considering foster and adoptive parenting.
“Just take the leap. All it takes is one person to save a life,” she says. “Even though it’s nowhere near easy, it’s the most rewarding thing. The hugs, the love, and the relationships that you see in these kids makes everything worth it.”