Written by Washington Foster Team
“Open up your heart and your house. There’s a lot of children who need help.” — Emiliano (Milly) Valencia, Foster Parent
Sometimes, the calling to be a parent never leaves you. This was the case for Emiliano and Maria Valencia.
After having a daughter of their own, the Moses Lake couple decided to become foster parents and extend their love to other families in need. This is their story.
Learning To Be A Parent Again
When the Valencias met their first foster child, Jose, it had been 20 years since their only daughter had been born. They soon found out that an enduring love for children and knowing they were making a difference was more than enough to make up for rusty diaper-changing skills.
“Kids love us and we really wanted a bigger family. So we decided to look into becoming foster parents,” says Milly.
After going through the licensing process, Milly and Maria took Jose into their home and settled into their new lifestyle. “My biggest challenge was learning everything again,” says Milly.
There were other challenges too. They got less sleep, dealt with complicated errands, and gave up some of their freedom to go out on a date night. These are common challenges for any parent, but still a change of pace since they raised their daughter
Then, they got a call. Jose’s mother had just given birth to twins.
Plenty Of Love To Go Around
It didn’t take long for Milly and Maria to decide what to do. “We thought about it for a while, but we didn’t want babies put up separately, and we knew it was probably harder to place twins, so we said we’d take them,” says Maria.
The Valencias united Jose with his siblings and gave them the love and support they needed to thrive, eventually taking the opportunity to adopt them all. Then, when Milly got another call that the children’s mother had given birth to a fourth child, it was a no-brainer. They’d care for everyone.
Milly and Maria got used to the late nights, feeding challenges, and minivans. But it was all worth it. They were grateful for the chance to grow their family and share their love with children who needed their help.
“Just to see those children not suffer. Kids in foster care suffer emotionally. They have to keep moving, they get confused, and sometimes they lose track of who their dad or mom is,” says Maria.
The Valencias are quick to point out that their situation is unique. Not everyone is ready to foster a young family of four children. But, as foster care veterans, they do know that there are lots of ways to support children and families.
“If you’re not planning to adopt, at least help out with fostering, or provide respite care. I’ve seen my wife before, tired, sick, no sleep. Providing respite care to a foster family, just to give them a break, that can mean everything,” says Milly.
Curious about providing respite care to a family like the Valencias? Whether you’re looking to foster or just give a family a break, there are lots of ways you can foster a better future for children in Washington State.
Find out what your options are by checking out our free resource: Is Foster Parenting Right For You?