Long before they were married, Niki and Seth Reichart knew that they wanted to adopt.
The more they explored and discussed a future life together, the more they felt confirmation that they wanted the same thing: a life bigger than themselves, one that’s built on loving others.
“After we had our first son, we started looking into the different options for adoption and the search began,” Seth recalls.
Little did they know, their search would lead them to a decade-long fostering journey.
Taking the leap of faith into fostering.
“Our greatest joy in foster care and adoption is seeing lives transformed, and having our lives be transformed in the process.” Seth describes, “It’s so close to the heart of god to care for children in need.”
Three years into their marriage and after the birth of their first son, the Reicharts began exploring their options. But adoption didn’t come easy for the Reicharts. It was only after the emotional toll of five failed adoptions that the Reicharts turned their attention toward foster care.
Though they didn’t know it at the time, the challenges they faced along the way were only preparing them for the children who would come to share their home and take up residence in their hearts. In only 5 short years, they brought home their first foster child.
Life was no longer about just Seth and Niki. It was about juggling the struggles and joys of starting a family. And it didn’t take long for the Reicharts to understand what most foster parents come to learn: foster care can be addicting.
“It just kept coming…”
“We explored private, foster care, foster to adopt… all the different avenues but we eventually landed on foster care and fell in love with it,” Niki explained “but then we kept getting pregnant in between classes and training. Finally, when I was pregnant with Jackson we were like ‘who cares let’s just keep moving.’ So then Eliana came when Jackson was 8 months old, and it just snowballed after that.”
Since 2007, the Reicharts have welcomed 14 foster children into their home and their hearts. Today, their a proud family of eight with four adopted children and four biological sons.
“We’re thankful that they’re a part of our family. We’re thankful that we have the opportunity, the privilege, and the blessing of being their forever parents.”Seth
Their children required every ounce of their attention and care. They were stuffed to the brim emotionally and had very little left to give or space in their days.
“It’s difficult. Being responsible for 8 lives and to see them be raised up as responsible adults… that’s a huge assignment.”
The Reicharts would be the first to tell you that fostering isn’t without its challenges.
“There have been numerous times where we looked at each other and said ‘what did we do?’” Niki confessed.
But with fostering, Seth and Niki found strength in each other and the support around them. When times get tough, they turn to their ‘tribe’ of fellow foster parents and Pressley Ridge staff to remind them of their purpose.
“Everyone wants to applaud you, but nobody wants to jump in with you. So finding those people that will jump in with you can make all the difference.”Niki
No one can totally prepare you for all of the unknowns that come with fostering children, but Pressley Ridge comes awful close. Niki and Seth lean heavily on the staff of Pressley Ridge, who are available 24/7 – through the good times and the bad.
“Being able to have a tribe of people we can connect with and share heartaches, hardships and also celebrate life with is really important,” Seth explained.
From the training requirements and making sure their home was suitable, to care coordination and a shoulder to lean on, Pressley Ridge was there every step of the journey.
A front-row seat to the transformation of trauma into triumph.
We hear about foster care and the 440,000+ kids in homes and the 100,000+ waiting to be adopted and easily move on with our lives. Statistics don’t break our hearts. People do.
Simply knowing about foster children isn’t very compelling. But getting to know a foster child, one specific child, can change your entire world.
When the opportunity came knocking for the Reicharts, they opened their door wide open. But Niki and Seth don’t sugarcoat the challenges of their situation.
“One of the questions people always bring up is ‘I don’t know if I could love a kid like that and have them leave and be pulled out of my home,’” Seth revealed, “but really a big part of what we think about is ‘yeah, but what if you don’t open up your home to them, what kind of pain is that kid going to go through if they don’t have a loving home that they can land in.’”
Yes it is difficult, and the challenges seemed impossible to overcome at times. But the blessing of being able to have a front-row seat to a child making even the smallest of strides is more than worth it for the Reicharts.
“We’re privileged to be able to walk in it, suffer in it, and sometimes shout with screams of joy in it. It’s exciting to see milestones being reached, achievements being had and witnessing bad habits turn into good character. It’s a joy to walk in that and a privilege to have a front-row seat in the transformation process of someone’s life.”Seth