“We will always be family”
A young couple step out in faith to become foster parents to a girl from Guatemala.
May 16, 2023 | Cara Salazar, content writer
Hannah knew she wanted to become a foster parent someday. When she and Silas were dating, Hannah shared that desire with him, something Silas says initially gave him pause.
“But when I began to think about my faith, I saw Jesus telling us to love the orphan, the widow, the stranger," he says. "I took a step back and realized it’s really pretty simple.”
With Silas on board, the young newlyweds’ attention was drawn to the large number of unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. in need of temporary foster homes. While they hadn’t discussed immigrant foster care, they were moved to act.
“In today’s world, it can feel like everywhere you look, it’s doom and gloom,” Hannah says. “Watching the news with what is happening at the border, it’s easy to say, I feel so helpless. This is too big of a problem. There’s nothing I can do. But as we began looking at becoming immigrant foster parents, it resonated with us that we could do something to tangibly help someone in their situation.”
When Hannah and Silas welcomed a girl, 8, from Guatemala into their home, they were nervous and excited. The couple can look back on those early days of adjustment and recognize the effort everyone made.
Silas says, “One of the best things we did was meet this child where she was. I think there was a temptation to rush this new relationship or even think it should be progressing faster than it was. That’s unrealistic. We learned you have to earn that trust. In any relationship, perspective is key. We have a young child from a different culture, who experienced unknown trauma in getting here. It’s so important to have perspective, empathy, and grace.”
Hannah was curious what interests their foster daughter would have and if she and Silas would be able to bond with her.
“Our foster daughter loves anything creative,” Hannah says. “Whether that’s bracelet making, painting, or ceramics. We all enjoy doing those things together. It’s funny because she’s competitive, and we are too! We play board games and sometimes she gets frustrated when she doesn’t win, but we have a lot of fun having game nights together.”
As a couple in their 20s, Hannah and Silas say their multiracial marriage and experiences with other cultures has helped prepare them to become foster parents to an immigrant child.
“My mom is American and my dad is Thai, so I grew up in a home with many cultures. I think that informs the way I see the world,” says Silas. “It prepared me to have someone in our home from a different culture. Hannah speaks Spanish and I speak Spanglish and I think this experience, this blending of cultures, creates something beautiful.”
Silas says his understanding of what it means to practice biblical hospitality has grown through the experience of immigrant foster care.
“When Jesus showed hospitality, he let people into his life. And for us, showing hospitality doesn’t mean having a picture-perfect house. It means inviting others into your life, inviting them into your home, and letting them know they belong.”
Hannah, whose initial dream was to become a foster parent, reflects on how her views of what makes a family have changed.
“Family is a lot more than just parents and kids living in a house together. Even after our foster daughter is reunited with her biological family, we will always be family. We will always be there for her. And no matter how many kids come through our house in the future, I hope we’ll always be family to them too.”
Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children need a safe, loving home until they can be reunited with family. To learn more about becoming a foster parent for unaccompanied migrant children, click here.