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Growing family: Harts foster, adopt 2 boys

Kelly Hart gets to spend Mother’s Day with two new additions to her family, thanks to the foster care system.

Three years ago, Hart and her husband decided to take the steps to become foster parents.

“I wanted to do it for a long time,” Hart said. “Will and Alexandra, my biological kids, had gone off to college so it really set in that I could become a foster parent.”

Hart said that she felt called to become a foster parent.

“I really felt like the Lord had called me to do this,” Hart said. “My husband was against it at first, because he said that he would get too attached and then the kids would have to go back to their family, but after the third or fourth class, he was all for it.”

Going through the foster care system is not an easy process, Hart said.

“We had to go through several classes,” Hart said. “And each time they reiterated that the main goal of the foster care system was to reunite the children with their original families. I believe that the classes were very necessary, because it solidified everything for me.”

The classes necessary to become a foster parent or adopt are often referred to as “pre-service training.” They usually happen right before or at the same time the person is completing an application to foster or adopt.

The classes are required so the foster parent can have a better understand of what their new child has been through and how to best integrate them into the family.

Hart said that if anyone is even thinking about fostering a child, that the classes are what could be the reason they decide to do it.

“You need to be realistic,” Hart said. “You also have to be very flexible. One of the main reasons why most people don’t want to become foster parents is because they don’t want to get too attached to the child, I honestly don’t think that is a good enough reason to not do it. I believe that if you get that way then you’ll be an awesome foster parent. If I had to give anyone advice on being a foster parent it would be to pray about it.”

Hart said that the biggest challenge in the beginning of the process, was trying to make the children feel comfortable and welcome.

“In the classes, they go through the situation of when they pick up the child from their home and most of the time their current living situation is not good,” Hart said. “So for them having to get used to doing the simple things that we think of as normal is hard for them. You have to have patience that is for sure.”

Hart and her family eventually decided to adopt the two boys they fostered.

“I knew I would be making a difference in their lives,” Hart said. “I knew I would always be in their corner and support them. My main goal for them is to grow up, loving the lord, and raise a family. Most importantly I want them to be kids. I want them to enjoy growing up. The oldest boy already acted like an adult when we started this process and I think that is the saddest part.”

Hart said that she wants her adopted kids to feel loved on, safe and to feel at home when they are with them.

“We go to ballgames, go to the beach and just do a lot of normal kid stuff,” Hart said. “The most important thing that I want them to understand is that we do love them.”

Hart’s entire family has been supportive during the whole process.

“Alexandra told us a couple months after we started being their foster parents, that we were going to adopt them, I hadn’t even thought of that option,” Hart said. “Our whole family has been so supportive and that really makes a difference.”

With Mother’s Day on Sunday, Hart has no clue what the boys will give her as a present, but she knows that it will be homemade.

“I know that they are working on something,” Hart said. “Mark writes a lot of notes because he doesn’t really know how to express his feelings, so I expect that they will make some homemade cards. They are being very secretive.”

Hart said that helping a foster parent is the best thing that someone could do.

“Even if you don’t want to be a foster parent, helping someone who is is just as good,” Hart said. “If you see that they are exhausted, just bring them some dinner or help them with something. It will go a long way.”

The Harts plan to expand their family even more. They are now in the process of adopting a little girl that they have been fostering.