Michael and Stephanie always knew they would be foster parents. Michael, a former high school science teacher, and Stephanie, a family nurse practitioner, both love taking care of others.

As a teacher and coach, Michael had a special gift connecting with his students as a friend and a leader. Working in the ER, Stephanie interacts with families from all walks of life, handling stressful moments and severe trauma every day. The couple couldn’t wait to start their foster parenting journey. They became certified with Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care in July 2021 and shortly thereafter received their first placement.

After their first placement, Michael and Stephanie decided to take some time off before taking in another child. Until one day at work, a coworker shared with Stephanie that she had grown up in the foster care system and how appreciative she was to know that someone like her was willing to provide a loving and supportive home for children. Stephanie knew then that they would say “yes” to the next phone call they received of a child in need.

Michael and Stephanie believe that part of being a foster parent is fostering the entire family, not just the child. They’ve found that when you can build a relationship on honesty and trust, communication between all parties becomes much easier.

Michael and Stephanie make an effort to be involved in the biological families lives in addition to keeping them involved with their lives. They frequently stay in touch with families, sharing important milestones and offering additional support when needed, whether it’s providing meals or being a support person for medical appointments.

Fostering a relationship with biological parents is an important but not always easy task for foster parents. By participating in Pressley Ridge’s nationally-recognized and evidence-based Treatment Foster Parent Training, Michael and Stephanie learned the importance of a strong relationship between treatment parents, youth, and biological parents. This alliance helps to build a foundation for a safe and successful reunification.

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 came to our home to now. His demeanor has changed, he’s much happier and calmer.” She can say the same for herself and her family and about her relationship with her son’s biological family. In what can be a complicated and trying environment, there’s a sense of calm brought on by a supportive relationship between foster family and biological family.