THE FOSTER CARE COMMUNITy
Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a day to recognize and thank all of the incredible men and women who put their lives on hold and on the line for their communities. And we couldn't think of a better day to tell you the story of our friend and local police officer, Erika, who truly went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a newborn baby was cared for during his most vulnerable days.
One day on the job, Erika met a woman who became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a baby boy. The baby was born addicted to methamphetamine. While the family was still at the hospital, Erika received a phone call asking her to take the baby home with her that night, or else he would have to be placed into the foster care system. So with mom's approval, Erika took the one-week-old baby boy home with her.
The first couple of nights were a bit chaotic, as many families experience with a newborn baby. But while most new parents have already spent the past nine months preparing for the arrival of their new baby, caregivers like Erika don't have the benefit of this predictable experience. A nine-month preparation period can be reduced to as little as hours of warning before the child(ren)'s arrival.
Many foster parents do not even know much information ahead of time, including details like gender, age, how many children need placing, how many belongings they are coming with, and/or what the child's health and medical needs are (in Erika's case, the baby was born addicted to drugs, which brings added complications). This time can be especially difficult for those parenting their first infant or toddler, who need the same variety of items that are often provided through a traditional baby shower - car seats, strollers, diapers, bottles, formula, and high chair are large expenses that foster parents may need to suddenly pay.
In addition, working parents may have to adjust their work schedules with little to no notice, and quickly plan for childcare assistance. In order to continue fostering, Erika had to put the baby boy in daycare, and unfortunately didn't have the funds - but needed to do this in order for the baby to remain in her care.
"You're giving them life and love
Erika's friend Monica put her in touch with Austin Angels. We quickly let our community know about Erika's needs, and thanks to you, we were able to raise enough money to pay for three more months of daycare, which allowed Erika to continue caring for the baby until he was placed in a forever family! Erika says of the support, "They came in and pretty much saved the day for us as a family."
Not all heroes wear capes, and Erika is for sure evidence of this! So today on #NationalLawEnforcementAppreciationDay (and every day) be sure to thank your local law enforcement officers for their service, and for continuing to make sacrifices for the betterment of their communities.
Click the video below to watch Erika tell her story in her own words: