Michael and Stephanie Deible always knew they would be foster parents. Michael, a former high school science teacher, and Stephanie, a nurse practitioner, both love taking care of others.
Being a teacher and coach, Michael had a special gift connecting with his students as a friend and a leader. As a nurse practitioner working in mental health, Stephanie treats individuals and families dealing with mental illness. The couple eagerly began their foster parenting journey, becoming certified with Pressley Ridge’s Treatment Foster Care Program and, shortly thereafter, received their first child.
From the beginning, Michael and Stephanie believed that being a foster parent means fostering the entire family, not just the child. They always made an effort to be involved in the biological families’ lives and to keep them involved in theirs—sharing important milestones and offering support when needed, including meals and being a support person for medical appointments.
Nurturing a relationship with the biological parents is not always easy for the Deibles and other foster parents. Through our evidence-based treatment foster parent pre-service training, they learned the importance of and skills needed to forge a strong connection between treatment parents, youth, and biological parents, which can help to build a foundation for a safe and successful reunification when that is the goal.
After their first placement was returned to the biological family, Michael and Stephanie decided to take a break before opening their home to another child. Until one day at work, a coworker shared with Stephanie that she had grown up in the foster care system. She thanked Stephanie for becoming a foster parent and explained how appreciative she was to know that someone like her was willing to provide a loving and supportive home for children like her. Stephanie knew then that they would say “yes” to the next child in need.
They did just that when they received the call for a two-year-old boy. He immediately fit into their home and bonded with Michael, Stephanie and their two biological children. With their support, nurturing and commitment, the child thrived developmentally and met all of his milestones and goals.
When asked what the most rewarding part of being a foster parent is, Stephanie said, “Seeing the change in our current son from the day he got to our home to now. His demeanor has changed, he’s much happier and calmer.”
Now, the Deibles share in that happiness as they recently made the child an official member of their family. Upon the finalized adoption, they have decided to take a break from foster care to focus on their new family life.