When LSG’s Foster Care Recruiter Lauren Welch meets with potential foster parents, she knows first-hand the excitement and anxiety they’re experiencing as they go through the process of deciding if fostering is right for them. She understands the frustration and impatience that prospective foster parents feel as they navigate through the approval process and multiple training sessions. As a foster parent herself, she knows the doubts, fears, and struggles that foster parents deal with daily when they welcome children into their homes.
Lauren has also witnessed the dramatic transformation that occurs in many children when they are placed in a safe, loving foster home. Seeing that transformation in her own son, who she adopted through foster care, was the catalyst that led Lauren to pursue a career in foster care.
“Children need trust, love, and support, which are all the things good foster parents can give. All it takes is one regular, loving adult,” says Lauren.
When Lauren was in her early twenties, she was diagnosed with a medical condition, and her doctors advised her against having biological children. She and her husband began to look into overseas adoptions, but with Lauren’s medical issues, they were repeatedly denied. Lauren and her husband began to accept that children may not be in the cards for them. Then one day at church, she heard a fellow member talking about adopting through foster care.
The Welches began to research foster care and were surprised to learn that Lauren’s health issues wouldn’t disqualify them from fostering. It took about a year for Lauren and her husband to get approved to open their home. “We opened on a Sunday and got the call for a high-energy two-year-old on Tuesday morning,” says Lauren. “That’s how desperately they needed a home for a child.”
The two-year-old little boy, who was diagnosed with behavior disorders and ADHD, had already been through several different foster homes.
“He needed structure, and the Department of Family and Children Services suggested a young family with no other children so he could see what it was like,” says Lauren. “He needed individual attention. He had some challenges and bad behaviors, but he was not a bad kid.”
The Welches were able to provide him with the love, attention, and structure he needed. Fifteen months later, when his biological parents terminated their parental rights, Lauren and her husband adopted him.
After moving to Albany in 2015, Lauren began to feel that God had a different plan for her life career wise. She woke up one day and told her husband that she wanted to work in foster care.
She began checking out online job sites. “I looked online and there was the job opening in foster care with Lutheran Services of Georgia in Albany.”
When she got the job offer, Lauren was excited to embark on a new career and thankful that God had set his plan for her in motion, allowing her to help out more children in foster care than possible by solely fostering in her home. In addition to working in the foster care field, Lauren continues to foster with her husband. In addition to their son, they currently have two children temporarily in their care.
As a foster care recruiter, Lauren’s job is to find potential foster parents and offer them support as they work to create a warm, stable home environment for the children that come into their home.
“Now when I look at my son, I think ‘man, did I think you were going to be difficult, but you are such an incredible and caring child.’ That’s my reminder for all of these children. They all need what my son needed – love, time, and support,” says Welch.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent, visit lsga.org/foster-care to learn more.