The Dody family passionately advocate for fostering & are immensely grateful for support received from United Way Impact 100 partner FosterAdopt Connect. This #NationalAdoptionAwareness Month, Aimee Dody shares the journey to becoming a family.
I’m an educator and there was no question kids were always going to be part of my life. When my husband and I were ready to start a family, every roadblock of infertility entered our path. When we weren’t getting pregnant, it was devastating. But we knew there were other ways to bring a child into our home. So we began the journey into foster care 6 years ago. In that time, we fostered six children.
We developed a deep bond with a foster son who was in our care for 17 months. When he was reunified with his family, we were utterly devastated. But just as we said goodbye to him, we learned through a family friend about a couple looking to place a child for adoption. We couldn’t have predicted that within 15 months of bringing our newborn son home, we’d be connected to a biological sibling of the foster child we’d just said a heartbreaking goodbye to.
In time we’d adopt a total of 3 of our former foster child’s biological siblings! Right now, we have four children age 6 & under!
FosterAdopt Connect was with us every single step of the way. There’s no way we could’ve done any of this without them. They’ve provided a huge amount of support and encouragement. They prepared us for court and stood beside us during hearings. Our social worker answered the million questions we had along the way and connected us with resources from car seats to clothing. They’re so invested in making sure that you are successful.
There are so many children in desperate need of a home. Jackson County specifically has such a high need for foster families that some children remain in dangerous situations because there is nowhere for them to go. (According to FosterAdopt Connect), “Jackson County has 1,248 kids in foster care, the highest number in Missouri. Government agencies are unable to meet the demand, this results in children and families falling through the cracks, preventing them from getting the help they need.” Source: https://www.jacksoncountycombat.com/432/FosterAdopt-Connect-Youth-Project)
You know, a lot of people will tell my husband and I, “I would love to foster, but I just don’t think I could. It would be too hard. I’m not strong enough.” Neither are we. We hurt just like everybody else hurts. But if we didn’t do it, who was going to?
That little boy we had to let go–we still cry about him because we miss him. But we wouldn’t do anything differently. I know that we had a positive impact on his development. And he led us to the four children we have today.
We never would have imagined when we started to think about having a family that this was going to be the road.
But we are so blessed to be the parents of these four littles. They are the light of our life. It is the most exhausting, rewarding, funny, incredible thing. There’s just it’s there’s never a dull moment at our house!
Fostering is a rollercoaster. The grief, the stress, the planning, all of the unknowns. These kids didn’t ask for this situation. They want a family. They need someone to love them, and who is going to be there for them: whether it’s for the short period of time they’re in your care until their family can be back together or if they join your family forever.
Even with every hard and painful moment in this journey, it has been so rewarding. Every moment of my life of being their mom has been worth it. When you open your heart and open your home, you just never know how much it’s going to change your life—and in the very best ways.
To learn more about foster care and adoption, connect with United Way Impact 100 partner FosterAdopt Connect: https://www.fosteradopt.org/.