Manley Family

For as long as I can remember, fostering and adopting have been on my heart. As someone that has worked with kids for most of my life, I knew a biological connection wasn't necessary for me to love a child wholeheartedly. So, while circumstances held off the start of my fostering journey, I knew that it would happen. Zack was less certain. I'm sure he expected time to prepare. Looking back, I did kind of toss him straight into the deep end. Interestingly, the catalyst that got our journey started was a broken foot. I was quite immobile for a stretch. So, after hearing a commercial on JoyFM for Hope for Kids in October 2014, it felt like God was reminding me and pointing out that now was as good a time as any. I'll admit that at that point, I was all in. I had wanted this for so long, I didn't need time to adjust to the idea. I started researching right away. In my heart and in my head, I knew this was a perfect idea. Zack was struggling to keep up. We decided to attend Hope for Kids and see where that left us. Being introduced to One Heart through Hope for Kids was a game changer. Being able to hear from others, especially other men, that struggled with the decision to become foster parents and how God was working in their lives was so important. The journey was more inviting knowing there would be a Christian approach. And listening to the speakers told us that fear was normal. But faith was bigger. It showed us that God would be in this with us. Once we prayed about it together and decided to embark on this journey, we were so glad that we could do it with One Heart. Starting our training classes with a devotional and knowing God was right there with us was so comforting.

Since we've been licensed, we've only had one placement, heading toward adoption now, and we've felt God's hand in it throughout the whole journey. There have been ups and downs, but knowing that we have a support system like One Heart has made the downs less stressful. For the past two years, I have shared and encouraged friends to attend Hope for Kids. This journey hasn't been easy, but the presence of Emily, Theresa, and One Heart have made the struggles much more manageable.