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My Fostering Story: An interview with foster parent Brooke Thames

Brooke Thames, foster and adoptive parent

The Reasons Why I Foster

Brooke Thames, and her husband Murray, have been fostering with Youth Villages for over four years.  During that time, they have opened their home up to 15 children and have adopted three of these children with the hope of adding more to their family.

Why I started fostering…

My husband, Murray and I have always loved kids and knew we wanted a large family.  After a few years of struggling to get pregnant, we decided to start looking into the different avenues of adoption. We originally thought about international adoption, but after looking further into it, we decided there are so many kids in the states that need homes so we focused in locally. We set up a meeting with the pastor of our church (who had an adopted son) and he connected us with Youth Villages.

With Youth Villages, we talked through all or fears, concerns, hopes, and everything we could think of to get all of our questions answered kindly and honestly. After praying that decision through, we decided to step up to the plate for these kids, who greatly need families that love them. Sometimes it is just love that you need to pour in them while they are either waiting to be reunified with their birth family, or as their forever family.    

My fostering story…

When we first became certified foster parents back in May 2015, we had several kids that we took for respite (babysitting for other foster families). One of which we fell in love with an 8 year old boy, but at that time he was not available for adoption. We knew that if he ever became adoptable we would love to adopt him.

Then, our first official placement was a 16 year old girl with an 18 month old daughter. That was not what we had planned on, but something about the two and their story drew us in and we could not help but say yes! We took them both and after many months they ended up leaving our home. We were heartbroken when they left because we loved them dearly. Well, seven months after they left, I got a call from our 16 year old, and she asked us “if I surrender my rights to my daughter, would you guys be willing to adopt her?” We said absolutely, but wanted to first make sure that is what she wanted because that is a huge decision to make. Months later, we were blessed to officially adopt our first little girl at 3 years old.

Shortly after our daughter’s adoption was finalized, we took a sweet little baby boy that was only 3 days old.  He has been such a huge blessing to us and is such a joy to have in the home. After having our foster baby for a while, we got another call to take two siblings – a boy and a girl – that needed a home. The boy was the 8 year old we first fostered, now 11 years old and he and his sister were available for adoption. We were thrilled to have him back in our home and blessed to have his sister as well. This past January, we adopted the two of them, something that was a longtime coming! Our son is now 12 and our daughter is turning 11 next month. We fell in love with the both of the both of them blessing us with three amazing children with a hopeful future adoption. Through your 4 years fostering we have had about 15 kids come through our home. Each has left us with unforgettable memories… 

About my family…       

As a family of five and counting, we really enjoy traveling to see new places and experience new things! I always enjoy seeing the awe their faces when driving through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, venturing through the swamps of Louisiana, and walking the sandy beaches of Florida. We have gone to and will go to so many place together and I am excited for the memories. Oh and fishing is definitely a family favorite!

Favorite fostering moment…

One of my favorite memory was when we took a boy for respite and took him shopping. We gave him a few dollars to buy something to play with while he was at our home, but he chose to split the money in half…half for himself and half on his (biological) siblings and foster family. He first thought about buying some marinade for a cookout that everyone can enjoy, but then he came across bananas and wanted to buy the bananas one of us to have together. I think this memory always sticks out to me because most kids his age (eight) would not be thinking of others the way he did. He had such a precious, caring heart and I will never forget that…

Reasons why I foster…

  • I see such a huge need and a need that my husband and I could help with. Once we stepped into this world filled with kids who just needed love and stability, we could not turn away. They need us… and we need them. 
  • To grow our family through adoption. We have been lucky to foster children that we have adopted, but hope to continue to foster and hopefully adopt. We now have three amazing children in our family and we would love to adopt one or maybe two more!
  • The joy of seeing the kids start to believe in themselves and build their self-worth as the time passes. Also, watching these kids accomplish things that they didn’t know that they could is truly inspiring.

My advice…

Do not struggle with the fears of how your everyday life will change or the “what if’s” like I did when first getting started. I am here to tell you that if you feel like it is something you might want to do, do it! On one hand, yes…it is a new and scary process, but on the other hand, what good is ever accomplished in life by being held back by our fears? Take chances because if you don’t what opportunities are being missed?

There will be very difficult times. Because after all, we are here to help mend the broken, and all broken things are rough, sharp and hurt like heck when you try to pick them up to carefully put them back where they belong. These kids are worth every minute of our time. Every pain that we have gone through together, they are worth it.

People tell us it takes a “special person” to do what we do, but I honestly don’t believe you have to be a “special person”, I believe that anyone can do what we do. All that these kids need from us is love and if you have love to give, you are their “special person”.