Therapeutic Foster Care

An Unintended Blessing

When Darcie and Jenna decided to become foster parents, they knew they could change the lives of children in need. Darcie is a social worker with her local school system, and Jenna is a pastor, and as a couple with daughters of their own, they felt they could give children the love and care they needed to blossom and thrive. What they didn’t expect was how deeply the experience would impact their own lives.

Since becoming foster parents with Massachusetts MENTOR, Jenna and Darcie have opened their home to young children in need, including those with medical needs and those who have experienced trauma. One of those children was Elizabeth.

“We met Elizabeth when she was 14 months old,” said Jenna. “She was with us for two years, and she did what they all do, which is become the best version of herself.”

Two years after leaving their home, Elizabeth reentered foster care. Jenna called Darcie to tell her the news, and without a moment’s hesitation, Darcie said, “It’s done. She’s coming home.”

“I don’t think we even had to have a conversation about whether or not she was going to come back,” said Jenna. Elizabeth, now a gregarious, adventurous 9 year-old with a smile that can light up a room, is still a part of their family today.

Unconditional Love

As Mentors, Darcie and Jenna have helped the children they welcome into their home feel loved and safe, regardless of the challenges they face. They’ve given children in need the chance to heal and grow, and in doing so, they’ve changed the lives of the kids in their care for the better. But both Jenna and Darcie emphasize the extent to which being Mentors has changed their own lives and helped them grow—as parents and as people.

“There’s nothing like sharing space with a child and watching them learn what it is to be loved and to be safe and to be healed—and to have your own family changed by the process,” said Darcie.

“One of the things that’s been beautiful in the way we’ve been changed is that we have a humility about our family, and about us as a parenting team, that we’re going to figure this out together,” she continued.

“It’s changed who we are as parents, without question,” agreed Jenna.

Not only has their experience as Mentors given Jenna and Darcie a new outlook on parenting, but both agree it’s been beneficial for their own daughters as well.

According to Darcie, “At every single school conference we go to, every teacher always says, ‘Your children are so astute. They’re kind, they’re aware of peers, they look out for others,’ and that’s…”

“That’s fostering,” added Jenna.

“That was an unintended blessing in this,” said Darcie. “When we said yes to fostering, I didn’t realize that our kids would become, in general, more joyful, fun-loving, accepting, kind people.”

By opening their hearts and homes to children at risk, Darcie and Jenna have given the gift of unconditional love to the kids who need it most—and they insist the blessing has been returned.

“Each foster kid that comes in is your daughter or your son, whether they’re here for five months or two years,” said Jenna. “The knowledge that we’ve done something to recalibrate their soul, that we’ve done something to teach them what love is supposed to look like, and the ways they’ve taught us what love is supposed to look like—that’s what makes it worth it.”

Therapeutic Foster Care