Foster Care: My Modern Family


This is a story about a family – my family – and how it has more than doubled in size over the course of the last year. While some of its members don’t reside within the walls of our home (which feels smaller and smaller by the day), their impact on, and importance to me and our story cannot be overstated.

This is what foster care does. It changes you.

Our Biological Family: “Just The Four Of Us”

Javan was a young five years old when we first introduced the idea of foster care and adoption to our boys. While I can’t recall exactly how we explained it, I do remember Javan leaving that conversation convinced we were offering some sort of trade-in program where he could give us his younger brother, Tiras, for a more improved model. Sorry, Javan – gaining siblings is in your future, leaving Tiras at a fire station is not.

We accepted our first foster placement in June of 2015 – a boy just a few months younger than Javan. Our first eight months as a foster family was as challenging as we thought they could possibly be; the end of his placement came without warning (your proverbial “long story” foster care experience) and left us questioning much of “the system” designed to protect our children. Inside, I wondered if I could ever be emotionally ready to do it again.

Then, there were six: 4 + J2

When we first heard about J2 (a boy/girl sibling set whose first names start with “J.” Super-creative, aren’t I?), the red flags were obvious – not the least of which was the fact that they’d been through six different placements in their first six months in foster care. We learned about their half-brother, also in foster care, who had been placed elsewhere and were told there were no plans to reunite them (which we were fine with because, at the time, we were only licensed to accept two foster placements). Something told us to take a leap of faith with these kids, so on a Wednesday afternoon in April, 2016, we met them at a nearby children’s shelter and five days later, they entered our home and our hearts.

One year later, they haven’t left.

This is what foster care does. It changes you.

And Brother Makes Seven: J2 + L = C3

Remember when we were told there were no plans to reunite J2 with their half-brother? In another proverbial “long story,” we learned just two months later that there was, in fact, a plan to reunite them and late this winter, began the process of transitioning L into our home. This process has stretched our family in every way imaginable. Thankfully, we don’t have to do it alone …

Plus Brother’s Two Dads: An Extension Of Us

For the better part of a year, L was raised in a loving home by two men who we have welcomed not only as friends, but as a part of our family. A consequence of foster care is the number of people attached by law to the children – foster parents, case workers, therapists, etc. There are times when all these people can overwhelm our homes and our schedules – but in L’s case, his two dads are walking side-by-side with us as we maneuver this new arrangement for the kids. I am grateful for what they mean to him, and to me.

Our “Modern Family”

During a Family Support Team (FST) meeting a couple of months ago, an attorney involved with C3’s case commented on the uniqueness of the bond we had formed with C3’s biological parents and L’s two dads, calling this our version of a “modern family.” Looking back on the last year, with all of its blessings and challenges, I can’t imagine living any other way.

Do YOU have a "modern family"? Tell us about it in the comments, we'd love to hear!

Contributing Sister Site and Author

About {Tonya}

Tonya is a wife and mom of five – two biological children, sons Javan (8) and Tiras (5), and three children by way of foster care. She is a Kansas City transplant from Aurora, Colorado (by way of MIZZOU and Jefferson City, Missouri) who enjoys BBQ, taco trucks, and sports of most every variety. She’s passionate about foster care, living organ donation, social media and its many uses, and movie theater popcorn. Love is best expressed to her in the form of Excel spreadsheets, cute office products, and fountain sodas from Quik Trip.

Tonya is the cofounder of Kansas City Moms Blog, one of our Sister Sites.