If we were to make a list like this, parenting would undoubtedly be among the top ten most difficult jobs in the world. Raising children, running a household, and working to pay the bills and support the family is a difficult undertaking for anyone.
No matter how difficult the job is, some people choose to take it even if they don’t have to. They are called “foster parents.”
Katie Holstein is an example of this. In 2017 she made the decision to become a mother. In January of that year, she applied for the position of licensed foster parent.
“I wanted to be a mother and I was tired of waiting for Mr. Right to do something about it. In an essay for Love What Matters, she said: “I imagined I would be a foster parent for a few years, help reunite some families, and maybe say yes forever.”
After eight months of waiting, her application was finally approved.
Her first task didn’t take long to arrive. The same day she was adopted, she learned of two siblings in need of foster care: a one-year-old and a two-year-old.
Katie became a mother to two babies for the first time overnight. It was “terrifying,” but also “everything I hoped for and more.”
This strong mother raised 16 children over the next three years. Katie claimed she was afraid of taking teenagers with her because she had heard so many horror stories, but that changed when she met Akyra, a young girl.
“On March 9, 2019, I received a call from my favorite social worker. “I know you don’t have anything to do with teenagers, but I have this girl,” she explained. She is wonderful; She and her current foster family simply need a break. “How about just for the weekend?” says the author. Katie remembered something.
At the time, she cared for numerous children under the age of five, including Thomas, a newborn who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit and whom she affectionately calls “Tiny.”
Katie wasn’t quite ready to take on another full-time foster child, but she agreed because she wanted to help.
It turns out she made the right choice.
Akyra was adored by the small children, who called her a “great friend.” She and Katie became friends through shared hobbies like Twilight and sleeping in. Akyra visited for a week here and there over the next few months as she bounced around various nursing homes.
Katie thought it was time to seriously promote Akyra after knowing her for almost a year. She was 16 at the time and had planned to live with Katie until she turned 18 and was no longer in the system.
“The goal was for her to live with me for about a year until she graduates and then live independently, an incredible program our state offers,” Katie explained.
“It allows youth who are about to leave the Cabinet to stay involved until they are 22.” They receive housing, a stipend, mentors and support with work, school and other matters. Instead of being forced to fend for themselves at age 18, it allows children a gradual, supervised transition into adulthood.”
However, over time the two became closer. Akyra then asked if she had ever considered adopting a teenager. At this point Katie realized what she had to do.
Three days before her 17th birthday, Akyra became an official Holsteiner. Additionally, at Akyra’s request, Katie also adopted Thomas on the same day!
The joyful ceremony was broadcast live on Zoom. Akyra’s caseworker, family and friends were all present to witness the historic incident.
The trio held a photo shoot to commemorate their time in foster care, which was recorded on a plaque.
Katie believes her story, now shared, could motivate others to welcome foster children into their homes. She told me that there was no need to keep everything in order.
“I would have missed my kids if I had waited for the ‘perfect time.'” I guarantee you, there are kids in your neighborhood who desperately need a safe haven right now, and they don’t care if you have… you on a limited budget, living in a small house, not married, or still figuring out how to raise children. She explained: “You need willing families, not ideal ones.”
What a beautiful message of humility and kindness! This anecdote shows that a real family doesn’t always have to be related by blood; it can also mean being connected by the heart.
Was this story motivating for you? Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about it!