It only took one discussion to change their lives and others.
“So would you ever consider doing foster care for a baby?” Beverly asked her husband on a car ride to San Antonio. She wanted to have one more child, but her husband was not on the same page.
“Yeah, that would be a great way to bring another baby into the house and we can help them. And if we could ever adopt one maybe we would adopt one of them,” said Ben, her husband.
One month later, they were filling out paperwork to become foster parents. Beverly and Ben have two biological sons and were excited to expand their family.
Beverly’s family already felt passionate about helping others in their community, especially those who cannot help themselves. Ben is a firefighter and one of her elementary-aged sons once raised over $1,000 to donate to a homeless shelter for children ages 3 -18.
“God show us if there’s somebody who needs help. Show us who they are so we can help them,” prays Beverly and her children every night.
It was a warm Thursday evening on September 3, 2015 when the caseworker’s car pulled up across Beverly’s home and Beverly ran to the car, swung the door open to see this precious 8 month-old baby girl looking up at her.
“Oh my gosh! This is really happening,” Beverly remembers thinking at the time.
A month later they welcomed the baby girl’s older brother into their home.
Every night at bedtime, Beverly and the children would exchange their “I love you’s” and hug each other. One night Beverly forgot to hug the children before she walked out their room.
“Wait! I didn’t get a hug,” said the baby girl’s older brother.
That was such an exciting moment for Beverly. It assured her that there was a bond between her foster children, biological children and her.
“When you first get foster placements, the bond is not always there. So for them to want to initiate a hug and for them to want to initiate saying ‘I love you. Good night!’ is a big deal. You can go four or five months and they’ll never say ‘I love you.’ They’ll never want a hug,” explains Beverly.
Beverly and her family, including her foster child(ren), usually spend the first 30 days of meeting each other getting to know one another’s likes, dislikes, fears, behaviors, personalities, family routines and structure and everything else that is comprised in getting to know and parent another human being.
“The first little while is really overwhelming and new,” said Beverly. “In the first couple days you kind of have a good grasp of, ‘Ok I can totally go out to eat with this child and they will be fine,’ or ‘It’s gonna take a few weeks before we go out to eat because their totally gonna have a meltdown.”
The family is usually together in the living room and dining area working on arts and crafts, watching movies or reading books. They play games together, play outside, go to the kids’ sporting events and go to church together.
“If this child has spent four years in chaos, then to them chaos is normal. So I can’t expect this four year-old to come to my house and expect him to be like, ‘Oh this awesome!’ because to them this is totally weird and it doesn’t make sense,” explains Beverly. “And so a clean house- or relatively clean haha- where the dad goes to work and comes home and we eat dinner together around the dinner table, we get bedtime, snack-time, book-time- that to them is so strange. So sometimes, that in itself can be an adjustment. It can be overwhelming to them and they can have certain behaviors because of that, like acting out.”
A 3 year-old girl once used every curse word towards Beverly all day every day for the entire 11 days she stayed at Beverly’s home.
“It was so sad. It was sad because she had just turned 3,” Beverly said.
During times like this, Beverly has to remind herself to give grace to the child and herself, as well as staying grateful for these opportunities.
“You want so badly to make such a big impact on them and then there’s days where you’re overwhelmed and you lose your patience and you raise your voice. And your like, ‘Oh crap! Did I just ruin it? Did I just cancel out all the good things I’ve just done?” fears Beverly.
She also worries about the children when they leave her home. Sometimes the children aren’t returning to an ideal situation and Beverly can only hope the they don’t forget their experience and teachings she provided.
To make change a little easier on the kids, Beverly likes to inform them on upcoming court dates and possible outcomes.
“Hey! We’re gonna go see the judge In a couple of days and he’s gonna tell us if you get to stay at our house for a little bit or if you get to stay somewhere else,” Beverly tells her foster children.
“I wanna stay here!” some children protested.
“We would love to have you and we loved having you here and with us. But the judge tells us what’s gonna happen,” explains Beverly.
Despite the outcome, Beverly can only hope she fulfilled her goal as foster parent.
“I want to be a glimpse of hope. I want to be that for them to hopefully hang on to and hopefully remember,” said Beverly.