In November of 2015, Chris and Hannah Seritt received a call. Two little girls, one and four years old, needed a foster home. At the time, the Seritt’s had just gone through a reunification with a placement. It had been very hard and they weren’t ready for more. They had to say no.
Two months later, they received another call. Again, it was for two girls and would most likely be an adoptive placement.
“We didn’t really know what adoption would look like,” Hannah Seritt said. “We knew we were called – we are all called – to play a part in caring for the needy, especially the orphans and widows. In the beginning, when we learned about the need for foster parents and how our county – Floyd County – was in such a terrible state, we were drawn to dig deeper and learn more about fostering.
“As with most couples who go through the approval process, we never really understood much about the kids or the biological family until after we did our training with FaithBridge, then our eyes and hearts were opened to love on these people that need it so desperately.”
So they became foster parents and were placed with a premature baby and two other children before the call in January 2016.
“We went back and forth discussing the adoption with our case worker and FaithBridge family consultant Tiffany Maddox,” Hannah said. “After much prayer, and many discussions with close friends and family, we just knew that this was the right fit and that we were called to be their parents.”
So they moved forward with the new placement. Two little girls arrived – the same two little girls they were called about in November 2015.
“How amazing is it that God could place the same two girls in our path only a few short months later?” Hannah said. “God’s plan never fails!”
Aliyah and Maddie arrived on January 28th, 2016. Maddie was almost two and Aliyah was five. They had already been through two foster families and a relative placement, plus the trauma of a biological mother with drug issues who neglected them and a biological father with extensive criminal issues. They rarely spoke, were very withdrawn and struggled with attachment issues.
“We dealt with behavior issues with both girls, but mainly Aliyah,” Hannah said. “She was older so she ‘understood’ more of what was going on and was in therapy. There was a time we didn’t know if it was a good fit for several reasons.”
But the Seritt’s prayed and kept loving and working with the girls.
“Both girls were very un-trusting of men, including my husband,” Hannah said. “It took a long time for them to feel comfortable with him. He worked very diligently with them and showed them constant love. It took a few months, but eventually both Maddie and Aliyah started becoming very attached to him. Now, Maddie is a daddy’s girl all around and Aliyah also loves him very much.”
With God’s help and therapy, Aliyah began to understand that she and her sister needed a forever family that would never leave her. She graduated from therapy shortly after termination of parental rights was finalized, and she healed more in the two months after than she had the entire 10 months leading up to TPR.
“It is so amazing to watch God take a bad situation and turn it into something good, something beautiful, and something so precious,” said Tiffany Maddox, their FaithBridge foster family consultant. “To watch two precious little girls blossom and bloom through the endurance and love of the Seritt’s is amazing.”
But the journey wasn’t without challenges.
“It has been a learning curve for us to know how to parent a toddler, who initially was nonverbal, and a 5 year old who had zero trust and zero confidence. Having no biological children of our own, we felt like we were thrown into cold water,” Chris said. “However, these girls have been the biggest blessing to us. It has been so rewarding to watch them grow and learn.”
The Importance of Community
For the Seritt’s, being surrounded with support has been crucial to their journey.
“We were blessed by our church family (Three Rivers); we had a fantastic Community of Care surrounding us that provided us meals, support and encouragement. They prayed with us and for us. Knowing that we always had someone we could reach out to with a need was a huge blessing,” Hannah said.
“There have been many times that we wanted to throw in the towel and just quit. If it wasn’t for the group of people that surrounded us and prayed with us and cried with us, we probably would have quit after our first placement. But it is so worth it. We are stronger in our faith [because of fostering].
“I am not sure how anyone can do this without having the Lord in their life. He has called us, and all foster/adoptive parents, to extend the same unconditional love and grace that He shows us every day to the child that He has put in our home.”
The Seritt’s Advice for Potential Foster Families:
“Be ready to love on kids, and adults, who have come from a hard place. You may think you can’t love a biological family, but they need the same love and support that their kids do. Also, be ready to ride on the craziest roller coaster ride ever!
“Whether you’re adopting, fostering or doing respite, please be sure you have some people that you can surround yourself with when it gets hard. We are so glad we went with FaithBridge. The support that they provided to us was amazing. Also, knowing that they hold their homes to such a high standard is awesome.”