‘She said I’d be a great foster mom. ‘Me?! Isn’t that for young people? We are grandparents, for goodness sakes!’: Grandparents take leap of faith and become foster parents

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“We all have a life story, and sometimes it’s not one we ever expected. In 2013, we had a grandson born early and he spent 103 days in the NICU. When we would visit, we noticed that some babies never had visitors. The nurses would say, ‘That little one there hasn’t had a visitor in two months. And that one over there, that one’s certainly going to become a foster child.’ As a nurse and mom, I couldn’t imagine that, and those words planted a seed deep in my heart that I thought about often.

As a home health RN Supervisor, I encountered several medically fragile foster children. At one visit, the foster mom told me I’d be a great foster mom. ‘Me?! Isn’t that really for young people? My husband and I are in in our fifties. We have 4 adult children. For goodness sakes, we are grandparents!’

Before long, my husband, Andy, and I talked, prayed, and signed up for classes. ‘The least we could do is check it out.’ ‘Certainly, we could be interim grandparents.’ ‘We can foster until their families figure out how to care for them.’ After all, foster care’s first goal is to reunify families.

Once we were approved, we got the call. ‘Hi, Mrs. Morgan? We have a little girl who needs an emergency placement. I know you asked for babies. This little girl is 7 and has special needs. Can’t walk or talk. We don’t know much. Her mother passed away unexpectedly, and we haven’t located any family.’ ‘When will we get her?’ ‘Tonight. Now.’ At 11:30 p.m., we brought our foster daughter, Laycee, into our home. We fell madly in love in with her. She was beautiful. She was perfect just as she was. She is missing 6 genes on an X chromosome which caused Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, vision impairment, and some minor deformities. The Corpus Callosum is in the center of the brain and connects the right hemisphere to the left. We didn’t know if she could learn, but she sure showed us quickly how smart she was! I came home from work every day for two weeks and said, ‘Hi honey, how was your day?’ One day, when I opened the door I was greeted with, ‘Hi honey!’ I cried. She could remember! She could learn!

Little girl with special needs and in foster care sits with mouth open
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

Six months later, we got another call. ‘Mrs. Morgan? We have a 3-year-old little boy in the PICU. He’s been here 6 months and needs a home. He has a trach and vent, heart and kidney defects. He has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.’ 6 months in the PICU! Why?! Three months, because he was sick. Three months because no one would take him home. Oh my heart! ‘Can we meet him before we commit?’ Our foster daughter has some sensory issues and we knew we couldn’t take a child that made sudden loud noises or self- harming behaviors. Once we saw him, he won us over! ‘What a handsome little man! Look at those curls! Look at those eyelashes!’ ‘We can do this. We can learn how to care for him.’ ‘Yes! He’s ours.’

Baby in PICU with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome holds hands with special needs foster sister
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

After several days at the PICU learning how to care for him, we took him home. He wouldn’t make eye contact, had vision and hearing impairments, couldn’t roll over or sit up. But he would show us that he could learn. ‘We will be Nana and Papa,’ I said. ‘Interim grandparents,’ I said.

Close up of baby boy with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome sticking tongue out
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

Well, fast forward to July 2017. We adopted our beautiful Laycee. She is just a ray of sunshine. In fact, we named her Laycee Joy, because she spreads joy everywhere she goes. Since the time we first met her, she has progressed so incredibly fast. From barely able to crawl, to walking, holding one arm. From saying very few words to having memorized multiple songs and her ABCs. From not really liking to be touched, to being extremely cuddly and loving.

Baby boy with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome lays on floor beside foster sister who has special needs
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

When she’s first woken up in the morning, throughout the day, and even when getting ready for bed, we hear, ‘love you,’ spontaneously in her sing-song voice. I have told many people that everyone needs a Laycee. You just cannot stay mad or sad with our Laycee around.

Young girl with special needs sits in chair in foster home with Christmas tree and presents in background
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

Then this past July, we adopted Kelton. He, too, lights up a room with his smile. Everyone talks about his beautiful curls and his long eyelashes. He loves music and light-up toys and hanging out with his (very loud) siblings and nephews. He is learning to roll over and to sit up. He watches everyone and laughs at funny noises. He is getting healthier everyday.

Boy with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome smiling as he sits in stroller
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

Now we are Mom and Dad to 6 beautiful children. I am sometimes amazed to think that I have children from age 5-29. And I love it! We will never be empty nesters. We will always have a sweet someone who depends on us for everything. We will always be the receivers of hugs and kisses from these sweet forever babies. We could not be happier!

Man sits on bench outside of home with foster son and daughter while man's wife stands behind them
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

We appreciate the smallest of accomplishments. We don’t stress the small stuff. God has blessed us greatly!”

Husband and wife stand outside home with their two foster children and four biological kids and their families
Courtesy of Linda Morgan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Linda Morgan.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here.Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this: 

‘Are you willing to foster a teen?’ I was 19, single, male. I set up the interview, thinking I wouldn’t be taken seriously.’: Man who grew up in foster care adopts 3 children, ‘I want them to grow up loved’

‘I heard 3 things when he was finally out: ‘He’s here, he’s breathing, and he has a TON of hair!’ What a joyful moment. I say moment – because the joy only lasted that long.’

‘A 20-year-old suddenly appeared on our doorstep. He needed a family just as much as we needed him. His foster mom texted me, ‘I’m no longer able to provide care for him.’

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