When Chelsey and David Ettiene started their foster care journey, adoption wasn’t even on their mind. They became foster parents because they wanted to provide a safe and loving home for a child and felt it was the perfect time to open their home to a child in need, no matter the length of the stay.

They became certified with Pressley Ridge in May 2021. They were excited to have completed the program but had no expectations of what could be next for their family.

Just one month later, Chelsey and David were on their way home from vacation with their three children when they got the call that a baby boy had been born and was ready to be placed with their family. They were all crammed into David’s truck pulling their pop-up camper with no room to bring a baby home. Chelsey immediately called her sister and asked, “If I place a pickup order for a car seat, can you get it and meet me at the hospital?” David dropped Chelsey off at the hospital, where she met her sister. They picked up the infant and took him home to their family.

Chelsey and David chose to pursue foster care not knowing what it would be like for their family. She remembers, “I just told my children how excited we all were to bring this child into our home and reminded them every day that we don’t know how long we’ll care for him.” Although the initial goal was to reunite the child with his biological parents, after just two months, their case manager asked if they’d be willing to provide a permanent home. It was an immediate yes. Two years later, Chelsey, David and their children officially adopted their son. Chelsey recalls, “He had been such a gift to our family. He always felt like ours.”

Chelsey and David knew the adoption process would be different than the foster care process, but they felt at ease knowing Pressley Ridge would walk them through every step. They leaned on their support team for advice on how to engage their son’s biological mother and how to talk to their other children about the expectations of foster care and adoption. Chelsey says the most helpful part of the process was working with and creating relationships with her case managers. They made all the difference as her family learned to support their son and brother through the foster care and adoption process.