Foster families are often the most overlooked and unappreciated, yet the some of the most crucial, catalytic people involved in foster care. These are the ones sacrificing time, readjusting their lifestyle, and many times managing chaos to give a child a safe and healing home to live in. They really can make it or break it for these children from a hard place.
Many foster families I know would have made a good interview. I wanted a foster family that has fostered many children of all ages, are still currently fostering, and if possible, adopting through foster care. That describes Brian and Sarah Kidd Miller.
Enjoy this interview with the Millers:
How long have you been a foster family?
We have been a foster family for 6 years. It was our goal to be licensed by our 30th birthday(s).
How many children have you fostered? Currently fostering?
To date we have fostered 17 children ranging in age from preemie to 18 years-old. We have two biological children as well. When we started we (Brian) wanted one baby, foster only. We have discovered God had other plans. Our first eight placements came as sibling sets of two usually one baby and one toddler. For several years we lived in a perpetual state of potty training.
During that time we were working in Student Ministries at church and met and fell in love with a young woman in foster care. We tried to get her placed with us. Though that placement didn’t happen for reasons beyond our control (we learned so much about what was beyond our control in foster care), we had opened our hearts to teens.
Soon after, our agency called us with a teen needing immediate placement. We knew the moment she walked into our lives we would be her last stop. She was never legally available to adopt, but we committed to being her parents forever.
We then opened our age range up to – well – anything. Once you have a preemie and a teen at the same time, everything in the middle seems pretty doable.
Our biological children are now 11 and almost 13 years-old, a girl and a boy. We also have two girls, almost 13 and 17 (and as she will remind you, almost 18), that by the time this is posted we will have legally adopted. Our 13 year-olds are only 11 days apart. Our oldest child (our first teen) is now 21 and an incoming senior at Texas State. And, we are currently fostering a precious 10 month old little boy who is the joy and light of our family.
Tell me about your daughters you are adopting.
Because our eyes were opened to the challenges faced by kids aging out of foster care through walking our daughter through the aging out process and accessing all her benefits, we understood the dire need to adopt teens. We knew that the young children have many families hoping to adopt them and the older the kids get, the more difficult it becomes to find families willing to adopt.
The statistics about teens aging out of care are dismal and include high rates of incarceration, homelessness, and a cycle of their own children entering into foster care. On many occasions our oldest daughter recognized that she would not have “made it” without parents to help her navigate life after foster care. Besides the financial support and stability of having a home to go to, she recognizes that just having a parent to call when she needs help or love is something she would struggle without.
What compelled you to foster children?
In my teen years I knew that I wanted a large family. My wise mother suggested that if I were to have biological children to also consider that there are many children in this world living without parents to love and protect them. I knew on a spirit level that I would raise children that weren’t biologically mine.
In college as a nursing student, I did my psych rotation on a pediatric floor. I would venture to say that 90% of the children at the psychiatric hospital had been abused in some way. This led me to question further what my role in this could be. All of us from that rotation walked away with a new heart for foster care.
When Brian and I married we had biological children in quick succession and my dream to foster (and eventually adopt) stayed a small but constant flame in my heart. I was blessed to have married a man who has a great concern and compassion for social injustices. Once we started taking classes for our foster license he was “all in” and our goal was to be licensed before we turned 30.
We continue to foster out of obedience because we believe it is what we were called to do. We have seen families healed, generational curses lifted, children begin to trust and heal for the first time, new families formed, and abundant grace amidst a very cruel world.
What are some challenges and rewards of foster parenting?
People tell us every day that they couldn’t do what we do. They would get too attached. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that… The reality is that you do get too attached and if you didn’t you wouldn’t be doing it right.
There is also a misconception that these are bad kids. The reality is these are good kids that had horrible things happen to them. We have to be willing to peel back layers and find the root of behaviors. We have had challenging behaviors, we have had kids go back to parents that we didn’t trust, we have had teens sign out of foster care against our better judgement, but we continue to do it out of obedience to God who is bigger than all that and has a plan we can’t possibly grasp.
The reward is in knowing we did what we were asked to do by God and loved harder than any human expects us to.
What do you want people to know about being a foster family?
We are just normal people. We aren’t saints and we don’t have jewels in crowns waiting in heaven; we are ordinary people doing what God asked us to do. We haven’t wrecked our biological kids lives, they seem to be just fine. There is a team of people who love and support us including our family, our friends, our neighbors and our church. Don’t go into foster care alone. Bring your team. The system is not perfect, in fact, it is quite flawed, but that cannot prevent us from loving a child or being obedient to our amazing God.
Thank you Brian and Sarah Kidd Miller!
If you want information about becoming a foster family, click on this link to get some practical first steps—http://www.fosteringhopeaustin.org/steps-to-fostering/
This toolkit also gives some good advice—Adoption/Foster Care Toolkit.
Lastly, keep an eye out for an Adoption/Foster Care eBook series I am working on—Respond to the Call. Book One—Count the Cost is coming in June.
If You Are Considering Foster Care or Adoption, You Need to Take this Free Course!
This 8 day course—Are You Considering Foster Care or Adoption?—will walk you through this important decision. Sign up for it now!