Chantal and Patrick Starr are veteran foster parents who’ve cared for more than 20 children over the last decade. They’ve learned so much over those 10 years, seeing the beautiful effect on their own family and making irreplaceable connections with Pressley Ridge staff and other foster parents.
Nearly 20 years ago, Chantal was battling cancer. She was focused on her health, all the while wondering how this would affect her chances of starting a family one day. Shortly after beating cancer, she became pregnant with her son. Following his birth, however, she learned that she wouldn’t be able to have any more children on her own. The Starrs knew they wanted more children, but they decided to take some time to focus on their son.
Chantal and Patrick were familiar with foster care from their own research and having a neighbor who had fostered children, but four years went by before they started their fostering journey. Chantal recalls the idea of adoption and fostering coming up in the oddest places and conversations, and they finally decided they were ready to start looking into their options.
Chantal’s research brought her to the Pressley Ridge website where she found a resource to talk with about starting the foster process. She recalls, “I felt heard. I felt understood. I didn’t feel like my questions were ridiculous or wrong. I felt like this was going to be the right place to foster for us.” Chantal and Patrick were able to have honest and realistic conversations with the staff at Pressley Ridge about their family’s goals.
They always hoped to adopt through foster care, but that didn’t keep them from being open to temporarily caring for children in their home. Their first placement was reunified with their biological family within six months. Although happy for the child and family to be back together and knowing that anything can happen in the system, Chantal was a bit heartbroken.
They took in a few more children, and after six months, Chantal was open and ready to accept a baby. The next call from Pressley Ridge let them know there was a baby boy ready for their care. The new baby fit right into their family. He and their biological son were two peas in a pod. Patrick remembers him being such “an instant peace to the beautiful storm of the family.” They knew this child was meant to be theirs forever.
Just as they were feeling settled in to their new normal, they got a call—the baby boy had an older brother, and he would eventually need to be cared for, as well. Everyone felt it would be best for the boys to stay together. So, Chantal and her husband made the decision to also welcome this child into their life. They thought, “We love this little guy so much, we can’t go without him. So, of course we’ll take his brother.”
Chantal and Patrick know that having the right resources and support make all the difference in the foster and adoption process. They are so thankful for their ongoing relationship with Pressley Ridge and the ever-supportive staff and friends they’ve met in foster parenting support groups. Chantal explained how helpful it is to connect with others going through or being familiar with similar situations. “Having that network of people that understand the intricacies and sometimes limitation of foster parenting helps me get through the tough times.”