Jackie wants to make a positive difference in the lives of Iowa kids. As a school counselor, she spends every day seeing how one positive relationship can make a big impact on the kids she serves. That’s why she decided to become a licensed foster and adoptive parent.
“I wanted to be more involved with helping kids and I thought, who do these kids feel most comfortable with outside of their family? It would be teachers,” she says. “So I always dreamed that if a student from your classroom could be in your care, it would take away a little bit of anxiety and fear and some of those other feelings if they were going home with someone they knew.”
She became licensed in December of 2016 and has fostered six children — including siblings — over the years. Last January, she adopted her first child. Since she started her resource parenting journey, Jackie says she has been surprised by how difficult the experience can be, but also by how much joy is in the journey.
Not every child will have the same behaviors, feelings, or needs and while there may be challenges, Jackie says it’s important to remember that kids entering care are no different than other children in the community. As a single mom, she has found it’s important to build a support network and community around you, where you can ask for help when you need it. But a strong community is equally as important and empowering to the kids in your care.
“One of my favorite things is just watching the kids build relationships within the community where I live and work,” Jackie says. “I have some awesome family and friends who have really embraced and loved on these kids.”