Have you ever had your life impacted by a decision that someone else has made? Have you ever looked back and thought that your life would be a completely different story if it wasn’t for one person? Before my sister opened her home to foster care, I didn’t know how possible it was for someone to radically change your life.
I still remember the first day I met my now adopted niece. She was a wild, beautiful, four-year-old. She was both intriguing and terrifying to me. She came with behaviors and issues that I never had witnessed in a child.
Those first few months were hard for my sister. To be honest, they were hard for my whole family. Although my niece was adorable and fun, she was also a child from a broken home. She had been through more trauma in her little life than one could ever imagine. She tested her limits and she tested my sister.
She fought hard to push my sister’s boundaries. My sister fought back just as hard to do what was right for her little girl. She enrolled her in therapy and changed her diet. She sought the help of pediatricians, psychiatrists, naturopaths, therapists, chiropractors, and caseworkers. She developed a routine that my niece could count on. She never gave up, even when maybe I would have.
A few months into fostering, my sister found a breakthrough when she discovered that my niece has sensory processing issues. One night while researching ways to help her cope, she stumbled upon a business geared to helping children with special needs.
Ten months later, my sister and I opened a franchise of that very business here in Edmond, Oklahoma. We just celebrated our two year anniversary.
Since opening, my sister not only adopted her sweet little girl, but she also fostered and adopted my niece’s younger sister. Last Fall, my husband and I also opened our home to foster care. We now have a foster daughter who has been with us for almost a year.
Through our business, we have had the privilege of meeting the most amazing children and families in our community. I have grown into a completely different person than I was before owning our children’s gym. Many of my closest friends are customers who walked through our door, looking for a safe place for their child to play.
Every day, I look forward to going to “work”. It doesn’t even feel like work. Instead, it feels like home. A home where I laugh with, cry with and cheer on different families from all walks of life. A home where I can connect moms whose children just got diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, or PANDAS, to a mom who has been fighting for her child for 12 years. We have become a melting pot for families to come and meet with one another, play, learn, and fellowship.
I would have never met this wonderful community of people if it wasn’t for my sister. She changed our entire life when she decided to foster a child in need. I am so grateful that she said yes to my beautiful niece. I am even more thankful that she guided me to join her for the wild ride of becoming a business owner and a foster parent.
If it wasn’t for my sister, my husband and I definitely wouldn’t have taken the leap to open our own home to foster care. I can’t even imagine what life would be like if our sweet girl had never come to live with us.
Like I said before, my life has forever been changed because of my sister. So if you are reading this Dear Sissy….
Thank you. Thank you for choosing to foster, Thank you for molding me into who I am today, and thank you for changing our lives for the better.