Love is the whole point

May is National Foster Care Month, so we’re taking time to celebrate some special Saint Francis foster parents who have opened their hearts and their homes to children in need.

Foster parents see every day the remarkable ways children respond to structure, security, and acceptance. They witness firsthand the transformative and life-affirming power of love in the lives of the children they serve.

Saint Francis provides foster care in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas. Nebraska foster parents Adam and BryAnna Brock are moved to foster in large part by their faith. Here is their story.

Two years ago, Adam and BryAnna Brock returned home from work to find their neighbor waiting on their stoop. Veteran foster parents, their neighbors had just taken in a sibling set of four, children from another neighborhood family. Three more siblings needed a place to stay. How about it? “Why not,” thought the Brocks. “We have the room.” Though the children didn’t stay with them long, the experience did.

“That was the first time we’d ever thought about foster care,” said BryAnna. “But we figured that if we could take in three kids, then why aren’t we looking at this as an option for us? What other children might come into our lives?”

Transplants from the East Coast (Maine and Massachusetts), the couple attended school together at York College in York, Nebraska. After graduation, they stayed in Nebraska, moving to Grand Island, where BryAnna taught first grade and Adam taught middle school. They’d been trying to have their own baby for at least a couple years when they began foster parenting class. So, it seemed natural to start by caring for infants.

“Our first placement was a 6-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy,” said BryAnna. “We’d wanted to foster babies, but once those two walked through our door, that didn’t matter anymore. They were sweet kids who needed a home. They had bounced around a lot; I think we were their sixth home in two months. I remember the little boy having a temper tantrum, and I just held him and sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ until he calmed down. We realized then that this is what we need to be doing.”

After that first sibling set, a few respite placements followed. Then Daetric and Mashea arrived.

“Daetric was six, Mashea was four, and we were their fourth foster home,” said BryAnna. “By then, we were ready to adopt any children who came into our care.”

So they did. In April 2016, they adopted the brother and sister in Lincoln.

“It was a fun day,” said Adam. “We dressed in our finest and filled the courtroom with friends and family. The judge was so kind to them. We’d done bonding therapy with Joan (Schwan, executive director of Saint Francis in Nebraska), and she helped us make sure the kids understood what was happening. Others had promised to adopt them before, so telling them they were going to be adopted didn’t mean much. Leading up to that day, we worked to make sure they understood that yes, this is it. This is the day you get your forever family. There’s no turning back.”

Among those celebrating were members of Adam and BryAnna’s church family.

“The church is our support network,” said Adam. “It started with our neighbor down the street. Also our preacher and his wife who had done foster care for years. Hearing their stories encouraged us as we prepared to foster and to adopt.”

Within a year of getting their own license, their preacher passed away from cancer. That event, along with the adoptions, prompted the Brocks to make some changes.

“I’d already been working in ministry part-time while teaching,” said Adam. “Once Daetric and Mashea entered the picture, I had children to attend to along with school and church. I couldn’t do all three, so I chose to go into the ministry full-time. We decided, too, that BryAnna would stay home to care for Daetric and Mashea and our two other foster children. The load was too great otherwise.”

And now that their preacher has passed away, Adam has assumed his duties, too.

Shortly after the adoption, the Brocks received a 9-month-old boy. His 3-week-old sister was two months premature and remained in the hospital another two weeks before joining her brother. That was about seven months ago. Now, they’re all deeply attached to each other, but it’s uncertain whether the Brocks will be able to adopt the children. If and when they leave, there will be plenty of heartache to go around. Yet, BryAnna is philosophical about it.

“I talk to a lot of people who say, ‘I could never foster, I’d get too attached,’” she said. “But that’s the point. Children need to get attached. If I didn’t bond with this sweet baby girl we took home at 4-weeks-old, she wouldn’t learn to love. Yes, it’s hard to think she might live somewhere else, but we’re adults. We can handle it. Children need attachment, they need to be loved.”

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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