10 May Siblings?!
When we said goodbye to Kashton (formally known here as “K-man” – prior to his adoption!) in September of 2019, we were anticipating having a baby January 2020. My wife Brittany was pregnant with our second daughter, Hannah Kathleen Facinoli. But as many know, we did not get to bring Hannah home. She passed away on October 21, 2019, and was born two days later on October 23. Our family’s plan was forever changed (to say the least) that day. Over the last year and a half, we have grieved Hannah, Kashton, and we went on to grieve our 3rd child (James Franklin Facinoli), who passed away in October of 2020 at just 8 weeks gestation.
At this point, it had been a year and a half since we had a foster child in our home. In December of 2020, we called to mind the reasons we had wanted to foster in the first place. As a family living out our Christian faith, caring for orphans who need stability was a main reason. We also wanted our daughter Tessa to learn how to serve daily and sacrificially in our home. We wanted her to learn the joy and challenges of ministry from a young age. We moved into a larger home in November of 2020, and in January of the following year, we decided to open our home again.
We got a call on January 13th for a sibling group. Are we crazy for considering this? Probably. But we said YES anyways. Something we’ve learned from our experience in the Foster Care world is that there will always be thousands of reasons to say “no.” But if you can find one reason to say “yes,” it’s worth it.
A few days later, we were told this sibling group had found another placement already. Honestly, we were a little relieved… But the very next day, we got another call for another sibling group who were the same ages (4 and 6) as our initial call. Crazy again, we said “yes” again – and thus began our journey with E and T. We were given a week to prepare (which, in the foster world is a luxury!). We needed every minute of that week to set up their room and to reorganize our life.
The girls came on January 21, and all of a sudden, we were parents to a kindergarten student and two preschoolers – a family of 5, over night! The first week, we adjusted to the crazy schedule. I, of course, enrolled them in everything (gymnastics, swimming, after school program) as Brittany rolled her eyes and tried to pump the breaks… We had a great first week, thoroughly enjoying the extra playmates for Tessa. And then, as these things tend to go, the trauma of their past set in, and the reality of what we were doing set in… We knew this time would come, but are you ever really ready?
The behavior of traumatized children can be hard for foster parents to manage and endure, but because of my amazing wife and team mate, and an amazing conference we attended called Hope for the Journey, we continue to endure and press on for the benefit of these girls. Now, almost 4 months in, we have started to fall into routines and get to know their patterns. They have mostly adjusted to our house rules and schedules, are showing progress with proper behavior, and they are starting to learn that they are loved and valued, and that their voices matter.
We don’t know yet where this case is headed. It is by far the most challenging foster care experience we have walked through. We are daily dependent on the support of our friends, neighbors, families and support organizations like Least of These Carolinas and Foster Village. We couldn’t have made it this far without our village!