Youth Villages stories
Fostering ‘made our family’
Erin and Robert Spivey first thought about becoming foster parents after meeting a teenage girl in foster care.
“It opened our eyes to the need to help care for kids in our community and give them a ‘normal’ home,” Erin said.
Currently in Tennessee, there are more than 8,000 children in the foster care system and about half need a foster home. An added challenge is the continued need for homes willing to foster sibling groups and older youth in Tennessee.
Fostering is not a parent substitute, but instead a support for a family. Many times, foster parents provide the care and stability for a child in custody until they are reunified with their biological family, safely and successfully.
“We immediately saw in the need to foster to help families through reunification,” Erin said. “Our role was to give these kids the love they need during their fostering journey, so they can go back to their families.”
The Spiveys were certified through Youth Villages a little more than four years ago. They chose Youth Villages because of the support they provided during the process, along with the evening classes offered that worked well with both of their full-time work schedules.
Youth Villages’ foster care program provides 24-hour support for the children and families in the homes. Additionally, Youth Villages provides ongoing trainings and regular foster parent support groups for the opportunity to connect with other foster parents, expanding support networks.
“We are so grateful we went with Youth Villages for fostering because of the support we receive in the homes,” Erin said. “We never felt alone.”
The Spiveys fostered several kids and ultimately adopted a sibling group in 2020.
“I will never forget the day our kids walked into our home.” Erin said. “I knew from that moment that these kids would change our lives forever. Fostering MADE our family!”
Not all fostering leads to adoption, but when children are eligible for adoption, the goal is to place them with a pre-adoptive family interested in giving them a forever home. Currently, Youth Villages has 70 children available for adoption in Tennessee.
If you are interested in fostering or adopting, contact Youth Villages at 1-888-MY-YV-KID or visit youthvillages.org/foster. There has never been a better time to get started than during Foster Care Awareness Month.
“Just do it!” Erin said. “I know so many people who think about it or talk about it and never actually take the steps to become a foster parent. There is a need, and if you have a heart to help children, DO IT!”