Why Foster?

Katie Dunlavy, Lularoe boutique owner, of The Pearl Pages wearing a white dress and posing outside with her husband and two daughters sitting on a black bench.

“You were born with the ability to change someone’s life, don’t ever waste it.”


Yes, we’re licensed foster parents. We’re waiting for our first placement. One question EVERYONE asks us is: “Why would you choose foster care?”

There’s one very simple answer: there is a need. We live in a world where we assume people are good. Unfortunately, the truth is there’s a whole lot of bad in this world. We’re good people, and if we can share that good with others, we want to. But to answer the question as to how we were lead to this path…

First, let’s back up. As I’ve previously mentioned, Mike loves like nobody else. The only way I can explain it is to call it Jesus-love. When he became a father I knew with every inch of my soul this man was MADE to love. I know it sounds cliche, but I’m telling you: if everyone could experience some Mike love for themselves, the world would be a better place. This man is capable of loving so deeply, so purely, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of that love than a child.

And as it turns out, the moment I saw our first daughter Iley I wanted nothing more than to mother alllllll the children (a thought that could not have been further from my mind prior to having her). So now we needed to have a bunch of kids. When Iley turned 2, we started trying for a second. When she turned 6, Ada Pearl arrived. During the many years we were trying to get pregnant we had several adoption discussions. We did adoption research and decided we would adopt. When I got pregnant with Ada, we decided we’d still adopt someday.

Now, I don’t want to sound shallow, but: I hate being pregnant. As we headed into our ultrasound appointment for Ada at 15 weeks, I said to Mike: “Boy, girl…I don’t care. This IS IT! I’M DONE BEING PREGNANT!” Of course, he kindly agreed. The day I had Ada, I may have said, “ok fine, ONE more time!”…but let’s back up.

When I’m pregnant I get big. I get REAL big. I gained 60lbs with my first pregnancy and 70lbs with my second. I was young when I got pregnant with Iley. I was hopeful that at the ripe old age of 28, being in the best shape of my life, I could have some control. I was determined to be the skinny pregnant girl everyone hates. This literally lasted 0 weeks. I was showing before I missed my period: TRUE STORY. Losing baby weight at 28 is much different from losing baby weight at 22. My “one more!” quickly went back to “NO more!”

So once I said “no more” pregnancies (for real), we knew adoption would be the next route we took. If you’re not familiar with how adoption works, there’s a LOT of options. We talked about international adoption, we talked about private adoption. We briefly discussed foster care but it wasn’t at the top of our list. We couldn’t decide. We couldn’t commit. We decided to just wait and see what God had in store for our family. During this process, a few semi-possible adoption situations occurred. Now we had to ask ourselves real questions instead of hypothetical ones.

Does this baby have any medical conditions?

Is this baby a girl or boy?

What do the parents look like?

What are the parents’ medical histories?

Do the parents have a drug history?

How tall is the dad?

Are they white? Black? Asian? REDHEADED?! (please say YES)

What if they decide they want the baby back?

What if we lose this baby?

We soon discovered these things didn’t matter. After every question we asked each other, would we still give this baby a home? The answer was always yes.

And these are just a few of the thousands of questions we asked ourselves. We went over every possible scenario. We asked ourselves questions I don’t know you well enough to admit. EVERY single time our answer was YES. Even if the birth parents changed their mind. Even if we lost the child. When it comes to providing a loving home, our answer was always YES. We learned that we were much more capable and flexible than we thought.

It helps that we had a foster role model. I taught dance with a beautiful girl named Elle, who now lives in Colorado. She grew up with foster siblings. She’s now a foster parent. She even works for a nonprofit advocating for foster care! I watched her grow from college student to wife to foster mom. I know meeting Elle was no coincidence. It all makes sense, why everything’s happened the way it did. We are MEANT to be foster parents.

Now, that’s easy for me to say because I haven’t done it yet. But I will tell you this: if a child was in need of a safe place to stay, we would offer that in a heartbeat. So why not put ourselves on an official list for a child in need? Because I’ll get attached and we’ll all get hurt? Listen, I’ve gotten attached and been hurt before and life went on. I pray I get attached. I pray that I love this child or children as deeply as I love my own. I pray they can go back to their parents and remain safe. It isn’t about me!

“Your fear of getting “too attached” probably means you’d be a great foster parent.”

-Jason Johnson

And what about my children? Obviously we would never accept a placement that would bring them harm. But I can’t think of anything greater for them than growing up with foster siblings. They’ll learn to love, accept, and provide. They’ll learn to set aside their own comforts for the sake of another. 

Are we still hoping to adopt in the future? Maybe. Maybe not. We’re just here. Trusting that what’s meant to be will be. Waiting to see where the journey takes us.



P.S. Have questions about becoming a licensed foster parent? Or have a foster and/or adoption story to share? Leave it in the comments—I’d love to connect with more foster families!

7 thoughts on “Why Foster?

  1. You guys will be the best foster parents! I have found for my boys, that there is no greater teacher of love, respect, or kindness than having a brother with different needs. Their hearts have grown exponentially since we had Will!


  2. I am a foster mama. We have fostered for 17 years, adopted four children from care and have one biological child. This is definitely a calling we feel God has led us to. It IS HARD, and in the same breath rewarding, our hearts are captured by every child who has graced our doorstep (too many to count). We have loved everyone of them as our own and each one has taken a piece of us with them when they go. It is a beautiful journey. Welcome aboard!!!!


    1. Oh wow, 17 years? Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you found your way here. When i talk to Foster moms i feel like I’m talking to a real life super hero. I so hope you stick around bc i have a feeling things are about to get interesting around here 😳🙈❤️.


  3. I fostered for several years. It was extremely rewarding. There were plenty of bumps along the way but so happy I was able to give some kids love and kindness. I couldn’t have children, we thought about adopting and then got into fostering in hopes of adopting. Our first 2, brothers, were with us the entire time, we were in the process of adopting when our world fell apart and we ended up divorced. Thankfully, they were later adopted and then best of all they came back to me when they grew up. God will bless you and them!


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