Navigating Foster and Biological Parent Relationships — Christy and Bethany’s Story
Sometimes, the most beautiful friendships are the most unexpected. We’ve had the privilege to witness a foster mom and biological mom form a unique bond throughout their journey with us at Wellroot. Although the friendship was one forged in hardship, it flourished over the years.
Christy started fostering as a single person before marrying her husband Thomas. Over the past 5 years, they have fostered 9 children, most of whom have stayed for more than a year. Christy is a high school English teacher who loves sports (fun fact: she was previously a basketball coach!), and Thomas is a contractor with the military.
Christy chose to open her home and her heart to children in foster care, and welcomed a young girl named Anne. Christy quickly made Anne feel comfortable in her home, pouring out love and growing in Anne’s trust along the way.
Anne’s biological mother Bethany says, “the first time I met Christy, we had an instant connection. She went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable. There was no judgement and no awkwardness, only encouragement. We had an immediate bond.”
Christy and Bethany’s relationship continued to grow as Christy intentionally invited Bethany to all of Anne’s significant events—birthday parties, open house for kindergarten, doctors appointments… you name it! Likewise, Bethany included Christy and Anne in some of her own special moments and milestones, as she continually took positive steps toward full reunification with her biological daughter Anne.
For Christy, supporting and loving Anne was a family affair. Her extended family consistently came over for visits, babysat, attended celebrations and cooked meals. They truly walked with Christy and Anne every step of the way.
A few months into the placement, Anne’s sister also came to live with Christy. Christy gladly welcomed Anne’s sister and Bethany’s second daughter, Claire. For Bethany, knowing that her daughters, Anne and Claire, were united in a safe and loving home brought great peace and comfort.
After about a year, the day came for the girls to fully reunite with their bio mom Bethany. “It was overwhelming in a good way to be reunified with my children. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and for me, I wasn’t aware of that fact until the village came to me. Christy, Thomas, their families and the rest of my foster care community—they are my village.”
More than a year after Anne and Claire’s reunification with Bethany, Christy and Thomas called Bethany to ask if Anne and Claire would be the flower girls in their upcoming wedding. Bethany and the girls were overjoyed, honored and couldn’t wait to celebrate.
Bethany looks back on that day with joy and says, “It was an incredible experience. Seeing the girls as part of their family, feeling no awkwardness, being at their wedding and recognizing how far I’d come to be able to enjoy that day–it gave me hope that sometimes fairytales do happen.”
Christy experienced a similar feeling. “Being able to share our special moment with them as our flower girls was priceless,” said Christy. “We love being able to stay connected with biological families after our foster children return home. The more people a child has to love and support them, the better! They have become family to us.”
Christy and Bethany are friends to this day. They lean in, show up and walk with one another to best care for Anne and Claire. When Bethany’s home was damaged by a fallen tree due to a hurricane, Christy and Thomas rallied the foster care community to refurnish their home, bring meals and support the newly reunified family.
“Christy and Thomas have no obligation to me or my kids, but they go out of their way to be there for us. Having someone there that genuinely cares for me and expects nothing in return—that has made all the difference,” Bethany said.
To all biological and foster parents navigating complicated family dynamics and strained relationships, Bethany offers a dose of encouragement: “For bio moms, my one encouragement is this, be the village for one another. Be open and honest. Don’t be ashamed because everyone is facing their own silent battle. For foster families, it’s important not to judge. Have an open mind, open heart and added compassion. Bad things happen to good people every day, and good people make bad choices each day. See past the words on the papers, and look to the heart.”
Bethany and Christy’s friendship is the perfect reminder that “family” doesn’t just mean blood relation. Family includes the people who show up, go above and beyond, lean in and fight for one another through the highs and lows of life.
We’re grateful today and always for the foster parents and biological parents who work hard in different ways to ensure reunification, and ultimately a better future, for the children in their care.