Fostering the Whole Family

Samantha Erickson Profile
Article by Samantha Erickson
Foster Care Supervisor

Jarrod and Shannon McGuire followed the calling God placed on their lives by fostering and caring for children through the Gateway Woods Foster Care program. They have been foster parents for several years now and have had numerous children come through their home who have all felt the stability, security, and love the McGuires have to offer. While they have blessed and loved each child that has come into their home, they’ve also taken it a step further at times — extending the same love, grace, and patience to the biological families of their foster children as well.

One particular summer, a sibling duo, Truitt* and Trinity*, were placed with the McGuires. They were there until reunification with their biological family, so it was a relatively short stay in foster care terms — lasting less than four months. This short amount of time did not stop them – Shannon especially – from loving on and pouring into Truitt and Trinity…or their biological mother, Tasha*…and their other siblings.

What started as a bit of an uncomfortable relationship with Tasha – some smiles at visitation drop-offs, and occasional texts to share how the children were doing – it soon turned into a beautiful friendship. Shannon made a point to reach out to Tasha – checking in on her to see how she was doing – and would go above and beyond at the few scheduled drop-offs by continually praying over her.

Soon, Truitt and Trinity returned home with their mother and siblings. Things were difficult at first, which is not uncommon. Many families struggle when their children return home from foster care, but it is often scary to reach out and ask for help — the main reason being the fear of system involvement again. Rather than trying to push through on her own, Tasha chose to reach out to Shannon. And Shannon chose to come around her and support her through the difficulties. She spent a couple of days a month with Tasha and her family, helping with babysitting and doing life alongside her. She continued to invite her to church and pray over their family struggles.

This friendship really came into play when Tasha feared that her children would be removed from her home again. Her first call was to Shannon. She asked Shannon to step in and help care for her children and Shannon was quick to come to her aid through a painful situation — clearly seeing that she just needed the support of a friend and not the removal of her children again.

Not feeling fully equipped herself, Shannon reached out to Gateway to gain insight and resources that could support her through this. With Shannon as a support person in her life, Tasha was in turn able to receive the support and resources she needed to keep all of her children in her home and continue working to provide income for her family.

To this day, Jarrod and Shannon choose to walk through life alongside many biological families, sharing grace and love through difficult times in their lives. While they love the children placed in their home — they never stop there. They see the real purpose of foster care: loving the entire family unit.

*Name changed for confidentiality.

Samantha is currently the Foster Care Supervisor at Gateway Woods. She has also been a Foster Care Case Manager.