If you ask Stephanie Colclasure about being a foster mom, she will tell you it’s all about expecting the unexpected. Her own journey has not been a clear path laid out before her, but a walk of faith with each step revealed in its time.
In early 2018, Stephanie and her family were at a turning point. They had been attending their little church for years and still hadn’t found exactly where they fit. They had two children and were trying to decide if they wanted to have more. Stephanie was interested in fostering, but her husband was not. Then one Sunday, the church announced that another family was taking a foster daughter and they would be starting a Care Community to support them.
Stephanie’s husband knew she was interested. He said, “We will serve however you want, but we are not fostering.” She agreed, and they took the first step.
Stephanie became the team lead for that care community, and then, when the family moved away, she transitioned to coaching multiple care communities in the church. Shortly after, she was connected with Dawn Arnold, a mom who had just received her first foster placement and was organizing her own community support. She needed help, and Stephanie was the right fit. Though she didn’t know it, stepping into the leadership of that Care Community started Stephanie on a new path.
Stephanie and Dawn quickly became close. Their children were of similar ages and aligned well. The Arnolds chose to share dinner each week with the care community members who brought them meals, so the Colclasures got to know them better through occasional Thursday dinners. Then, when Covid hit and many families were unable to keep sharing meals, the two families ate together nearly every week.
A few months after Stephanie gave birth to her third child, Dawn got a new foster placement, Jax. Jax and Stephanie’s son, Mack, were only seven weeks apart. The two boys were together constantly as their families’ friendship grew. They were in the same day care, with Dawn’s sister, and spent every day together. Then Dawn got the call that her daughter, whose adoption was almost completed, was about to have a biological sibling. They needed to take the new baby to keep the siblings together, which meant baby Jax would have to go back into foster care. Stephanie and her husband and all their children already knew and loved Jax. He was already a part of them. They never expected to take this step, but bringing him into their family felt like a natural part of the path God had been leading them on.
The Colclasures quickly got their foster license. The closeness that the two families had already established enabled Dawn and Stephanie to slowly transition Jax, having him stay in his new home just a few nights a week at first and then eventually going to live full time with the Colclasures. Since then, Jax and Mack have grown up thinking of themselves almost as twins. Jax has been officially adopted, and through another unexpected call, the Colclasures are now fostering his biological sister as well. They have developed a relationship with their children’s biological mother that has allowed her to be a part of their lives as much as she is able.
The Colclasures are overwhelmed with the love they feel for their new children. But expecting the unexpected doesn’t mean that it isn’t still scary at times.
“You feel like you’re stuck in limbo a lot,” Stephanie says. In the hardest moments, though, God has gone before them. “You have to be trusting, to know that God cares about those babies and cares about you. Just trust and love the babies through whatever valleys and mountains you’re going through.”
Community is also vital to surviving challenges you never expected. The Colclasures have had a wonderful support system through their Care Community. Stephanie says the impact a Care Community makes is fantastic. “Even just one meal for a week is one I didn’t have to cook. People see them at church and hold them. They are invested in their lives. Like bonus aunts and uncles.” Being a part of this extended family is what brought Jax to his new home, and that same extended family will keep walking the Colclasures through whatever unexpected turns the future still holds.
Want to learn more about how you can invest in the life of a child through Care Communities?