From Fostering to Adopting: The Phelps’ Unexpected Story
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. More than 8,000 children in the state of Tennessee need safe and loving temporary or permanent homes. Foster families have the opportunity to provide this and create a lasting impact on young people. When navigating their journey, foster parents provide guidance and support for youth to safely travel their path.
For the Phelps family, the answer was simple when their two biological children left the nest and started families of their own.
Arthur and Anjannette Phelps knew something didn’t feel quite right at home. “We were sitting at our house one day and noticed it was awfully quiet,” Arthur said. “We were thinking that we have a pretty good-sized area that some kids would enjoy.”
After they contacted the Tennessee Department of Children Services and searched for potential foster care agencies, the Phelps connected with Youth Villages and instantly felt supported by the specialists and their team. “We ran into some hiccups here and there,” Anjanetta said. “But after we figured it out, we started to know what to do and what not to do with our children.”
You need to trust yourself and your inside, once you understand that, you can create real change.
“I actually wasn’t planning on adopting,” Arthur said. However, one night during weekly Bible study, Arthur prayed and asked the Lord for direction in their fostering trek. Less than 42 hours later, siblings Michael and John entered the Phelps’ lives.
Because both boys have skeletal dysplasia, a genetic disorder causing restricted growth in the bones, Anjannette says they had to be mindful of other potential foster youth entering their home due to safety. “We had to make sure we find a good fit with kids that we bring in and out,” she said.
In 2018, the Phelps knew Michael and John were the perfect fit for their family and made it official by finalizing their adoption. Arthur says their experience with Youth Villages has exceeded their expectations and they have enjoyed every minute of it. “They gave us the pros, cons and what to look forward to,” he said.
Today, the couple has fostered for more than 12 years and plans on continuing to offer their home up for youth in need. With the good and bad days, the Phelps take each one at a time and encourage others to foster, too. “Some kids come from a real battered home,” Arthur said. “You need to trust yourself and your inside, once you understand that, you can create real change.”
To learn more about becoming a foster parent, you can sign up for an information session, or certification classes (TN-KEY), or speak with a representative at DCS or another partnering agency.