Fostering was on the Troutts’ minds for quite some time before North Point Community Church launched its foster care ministry, Fostering Together, in the fall of 2010. “We didn’t know what we were about to jump into, but the timing of Fostering Together’s launch seemed perfect. We were ready to stop talking about fostering and to actually do it,” added Angel.
Angel admits, “When we started the process we were slightly overwhelmed. I was not as prepared to answer some of the questions that were being asked of me in the home study process as it brought back much of my past, therefore taking me longer to work through it.” As Paul and Angel continued through the approval process, they felt excited and anxious. It was becoming more evident that this is what God was calling them to do.
In early February 2011, the Troutts received their first placement of two adolescent girls. They quickly noticed some social issues and physical needs that would need to be worked on. “The oldest girl was in a very dark place and wore all black from her clothing to her choice of make-up. If you were to see her now, she is wearing glittery eye shadow and fun colors, and she is happy and laughing. She was excited for that upcoming school year because she was going back as a completely different person — different wardrobe, outlook and attitude,” said Angel.
The girls have also been reaching physical milestones. Both girls came into care struggling with their weight. In their time with the Troutts, they have learned about nutrition and how to gauge what they should and shouldn’t eat. “Losing weight was encouraging for them and they now begun to feel pretty and to care about the clothes they wear as well as themselves,” she added.
After fostering seven months, Angel expressed that it had been an adjustment for the whole family. While their three kids were 100% on board with the decision to be a foster family, they equally had to adjust to changes within their own home environment. “We do everything together as a family. When I come home from work everything is routine. When routines are made, you know the expectations are met. When routine is off, then expectations are broken. So every day when we walk in the door we unpack lunches, let the dogs out, feed the dogs and do whatever dishes are in the sink and start dinner.”
“Helping me cook is also teaching them how to take care of themselves and learn life and work skills. Everyone in our house is responsible for their own laundry which helps them to learn to plan ahead. So while these things were a struggle in the beginning, now it is running like clockwork and they are enjoying it,” Angel added.
The Troutts have enjoyed their fostering experience and feel the greatest benefit of working through FaithBridge is their family consultant, Maribeth Nolan. “Anytime something happens with the girls, our family consultant is right there when the DFCS social worker is just not available.”
Angel further shares an example of Maribeth’s commitment to the girls by attending their performance at a summer glee camp. “I tried to let as many people involved in the girls’ lives know about the glee camp’s week end performance because a child is so encouraged when people show up to see them. Maribeth was there with flowers for the girls. It is so amazing for her to go out of her way to do that.”
The family has also built a friendship on a personal level with Maribeth. “When my brother passed unexpectedly, the first thing she offered to do was drive down to Jacksonville, Florida with me, allowing my husband to stay with the kids. I never would have expected her to want to do something like that for me,” said Angel.
“After asking my son what he thought about these girls staying with us longer he said, ‘It is different than it used to be, but I can’t imagine them not being here.’ To me that said it all and you’re right, it is different. I can’t imagine them not being here. There would be a void in our home if they weren’t in it.”
Angel offers the following advice to potential foster families, “Hang in there and always go back to reason why you are doing this – not for your own personal glory, but for the glory of God. When we do things that are called of Christ, it is not always easy, and we are going to be tested. At the end of the day, He will get the greater glory, and it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.”