Parenting With Open Arms

When Jennifer and her husband, Peter, decided to extend their family of three some years ago, they desired to do so with the hope of spreading the gospel as well.  A friend of theirs had journeyed through the foster-to-adopt system in Los Angeles County, which prompted the idea for them to look into doing the same.

Once Jennifer and her family prayerfully decided that fostering was for them, it was a quick process to become eligible to receive a foster child.  They began their training in February, finished by July and received their first placement in August: a young boy of an emergency case.  The whirlwind of events didn’t baffle them as they took in the boy with open arms, welcoming him into their family for however long he would stay.

The young boy had been placed in the foster system due to his biological mother’s drug use and neglect, but that following January, their situation began to look up.  His mother enrolled in a program that had her on the right path for regaining her rights to raising him and about a year later, was able to receive him back from the care of Jennifer and her husband.

Though the couple stayed in contact initially, the reunited mother and her son eventually gained a natural rhythm to their living that didn’t involve the family who had loved him for over a year. Despite fully understanding the ultimate hope of foster care in returning children to their biological parents, Jennifer and Peter were heartbroken after losing the boy that had become a part of the family.

They allowed themselves time to grieve and pray for direction going forward, and about a year after doing so, they felt called to renew their license and seek a second placement.  The boy that they were given as a result of their praying was to be a permanent placement if all went well–and just recently, was made official with the signing of adoption documents!

Jennifer shared that her son is a completely different boy now in comparison to the first day he came to them.  Shy with a speech delay and no efforts to make eye contact, he now is outgoing, quite the chatterbox and has a love for playing soccer.  They are so grateful to have him as a member of their family–something they now appreciate deeper after the heartbreak of letting go of their first.

Through their experience with foster to adopt, Jennifer and Peter felt called to begin a community at Eastside for those involved, or looking to be involved, with foster care.  Twice monthly, they open their backyard to anyone in need of support or anyone looking to give it. “This is for everyone”, Jennifer says, “it is our role to intercede, just as Jesus has done for us”.  If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about Jennifer’s group or about fostering email Laura at

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