We are Sam + Bryt, wife and wife elopement photographers, business educators, and LGBTQ+ activitists! We are so freaking excited that you are here!
If you are ready to go on an adventure, feel empowered, or learn how to level up your business, we are your girls! So.. what are you waiting for? Let's do this thing!
We are very close to being officially licensed to become foster parents! So many of you have had lots of questions and we figured we’d take you along on this journey to becoming foster parents in Indiana! We hope to shed light on the process so that more families might be willing to open their homes to a placement as well! And maybe we can help ease the minds of other LGBTQ+ couples who are interested as well!
We have considered lots of options on how to become parents. As an LGBTQ+ couple we obviously have lots of hurdles to jump through to become parents. We could look into IVF or IUI. We could look into having a surrogate or adopting. But then Bryt had this great idea (yes it was Bryt’s idea!) to become foster parents. We get to help kids in our community and become parents at the same time, it’s a WIN WIN in our books! I’ll save more detail on this for a later time since this post is mostly about how to become foster parents 🙂
That was my first question when I initially called The Villages. And thankfully the anwser was a resounding YES, of course. Throughout the whole process we have felt 100% welcome and supported by the Villages as an LGBTQ+ couple!
The first thing you need to do is reach out to either DCS or a nonprofit licensing agency! We had previous clients who were fostering through The Villages, and heard lots of great things so we decided to reach out! The Villages is a nonprofit agency that helps you become licensed and provides you 24/7 support throughout your journey in fostering! You can can learn more HERE.
We aren’t officially foster parents, and haven’t been licensed through DCS but the biggest difference we have heard is in the overall support. Our licensing case worker and case manager have provided us with their cell phone numbers and emails so we have been able to contact them numerous times throughout the process. And trust us, we have had A LOT of questions! The other difference we have really heard about is the amount of support you get from your case manager. Ours says that he often stops by weekly to ensure that things are going well and to see if you need anything. Again, we can only speak to the support we have received from The Villages throughout the licensing process but so far it has been VERY helpful.
You will complete 20 hours of training through The Villages, although DCS requires 10. The training can either be in person or online. We opted through the virtual training and it was all very informational! You do have to be present and in front of your cameras during the training so that they can make sure you are there! The training topics include:
Each year you are fostering you will also need to complete 20 hours of additional training to keep your license. The Villages has monthly support groups for parents that will get you this 20 but you can also find other training available should you want to take more classes!
This is the fun part… not haha! We have had about 5 different packets of things that we have had to fill out. Most of the paperwork was about us as a couple, our background, our biographies if you will. A few other things we had to do in the paperwork included:
and a bit more! Whew! That is quite the list but don’t worry, you can complete it on your own time. But the faster you complete it, the quicker your process! They do not hound you to complete the paperwork, it is 100% on your own terms and timeline!
This was a big part of the preparation for us. Especially since we do not already have kids, we literally had NOTHING. We decided that we would accept placements for any gender, race, orientation, and age 0-8. Therefore our room needed to be gender neutral and we needed a variety of things to feel some what prepared for any age of placement that we might get. So we got our registry together and our family got together and planned us a foster shower! We are so so thankful for our family + friends and there support of our journey.
Some items we decided to put on our registry included:
I then went to Once Upon A Child and purchased a gender neutral outfits in just about every other size so that we would have something that might fit our placement. We have heard many placements do not come with anything so I felt like we needed to be a little prepared in this department! Once we get licensed Once Upon A Child will actually give us 15% off! There is also a local foster closet where we can take our placement too, it’s called The Foster Closet at Innovation.
And honestly the list of things that we could put on our registry could go on and on. I like to be prepared and so the more we have, the better I feel. Anyone else like this?! Once we get our first placement I’m sure we will need more things but we wanted to feel somewhat prepared going into it! Here is our registry if you’d like to see a sample of what we put on it!
Once you have your training completed they will schedule the Home Study. This is their chance to see your home, make sure it is ready, and verify that you have a safe place! They will also interview you together and then separately. Once they have verified all the things, they will type up a report to send to the state. This whole process can take a few months, so just be prepared! Once it is sent to the state you WAIT.
Some of the things you will need to be prepared to have in your home include:
Waiting is a big theme when becoming foster parents. This whole process is taken us 4+ months are we are still not done. We are currently waiting for our home study to be complete and sent to the state. As soon as it is approved, we have heard you might get calls that same day! So fingers crossed our home study is finished very soon!
And that is that! We hope that sharing our story of our journey will help anyone who is looking to start their journey or considering becoming foster parents in Indiana. We look forward to sharing more about our journey and we are so thankful for your support as we embark on this journey! If you have any questions at all, we would be happy to anwser as much as we can!
Sam & Bryt
PS: If you’d like to reach out to us to capture your family, you can click HERE!
Picture Credit: Shoutout to our friend Kelsey for taking these cute photos of our announcement!