Foster Parents Welcome Seven Children through Adoption
Amanda Rushing Holbrook remembers vividly the day she and her husband, Daniel, journeyed down a path to become foster parents.
"The first time we took a child in, we were not foster parents," said Amanda, of Metropolis in far southern Illinois. "We got a call from our church secretary, and there was a family looking for another young family to take a little boy into foster care."
At the time, the boy, Logan, was 16 months old. Amanda and Daniel agreed to help, met the child, and became fictive parents for him, which was required since they were not yet licensed foster parents. Eventually, they adopted him. (Fictive kin are adults who are not related to a child but have a significant relationship with child, such as a neighbor or family friend.)
"We can't have children of our own. We were going through that process, and we both wanted to foster and adopt," said Amanda. "When Logan was about four, we decided to become licensed foster care parents. Since that time 10 years ago, counting him, we've had 18 placements."
Of those 18 children for whom they provided foster care, Amanda and Daniel adopted seven and have thrown an adoption party for each of their children. One woman who owns a local bakery has baked a cake for the parties but refused to charge them as her gift to the family.
"We've always supported the goal of returning a child to his or her birth home, but we also knew that a fair number of children in foster care in this area do not return home," Amanda said. "We entered into foster care to help children. There have been wonderful stories of our foster children returning home."
Amanda and Daniel have been married for 12 years. Their seven children range in age from three to 10 and include five boys and two girls. The girls enjoy dance class, and the boys play basketball. All kids were involved in scouts until the pandemic halted those activities. Amanda is pursuing a master's degree in social work, planning to enter the field in which her mother and grandmother both worked.
"When you see a child come into your home who is four years old but developmentally only 18 months old and in six months they're surpassing a five-year-old's level of development, that is awesome," said Amanda. "And when you see parents take the initiative to do the things they need to get their children back, that is equally rewarding."
"We've had wonderful supervisors at LSSI and one caseworker with us for almost four years," said Amanda. "She and I are now great friends. They all have been very supportive."
Amanda shares advice for people considering becoming foster parents. "Take the classes. Contact LSSI. Talk to other foster parents," she said. "Don’t think it's going to be easy, because it's not. But it is going to be very rewarding. If you are not ready to start on your own yet, help out another foster family. Cook them a meal. Offer to do their laundry."
At the end of the day, Amanda doesn’t lose focus about what’s important.
"Even though it can be rough, and even though there are times you're going to cry or be mad, just remember that it's for the kids," Amanda said. "These kids need a home and they need love and attention."