I knew that I wanted to adopt one day, but had little interest or knowledge of foster care. I heard the dramatized stories about the foster care system from tv and thought that it would be too difficult, especially as a single person. When I became a teacher, I loved educating my class, but in my heart, I wanted to do more to make an impact. When one of my students was put into foster care, I was heartbroken for her. I knew then that I needed to step up. I wasn’t fearful of the foster care system anymore after having seen someone I loved placed into care. This completely changed my perspective. Once you see the first hand need for foster parents, there is no turning away.

A few months later, after becoming licensed, I was able to start accepting foster placements. A little over five years later, I have had the honor of caring for 9 foster children, providing respite for numerous foster families, and adopting my three children.

Through the years of fostering, I have had several children come to me with few belongings. Typically, these items are in grocery or trash bags. It breaks my heart knowing this is all they have and that it’s something that most people put their unwanted things in.

I’m currently fostering siblings and when I heard their story, I knew I had to accept them into my home. We were to be their fourth foster home. Knowing that they have had such a tough time in the foster care system, I was eager to welcome them as their final stop before going home. The night they were dropped off I was so thrilled to see that they both had My Bag My Story backpacks. The two-year-old brother has a navy backpack, and the three-year-old sister has a cream one. They treasured their backpacks and loved to carry their precious belongings in them. Now that they are doing overnight visits with their mom, each weekend they excitedly pack up their backpacks for their visit.

My foster children have experienced great trauma and hurt but having something to call their own provides great comfort to them. They are proud of their backpacks and proud to have a quality bag to call their own. I’m thankful that My Bag My Story provided the bags for my foster children. It has given them relief and joy in their transition to my home and now to their mom.