Amy Vedeikis has known since she was a teenager that she would become a foster parent someday and possibly even adopt a child in need of a stable, loving family life.
Late last winter, she put a plan into action. Today, she is a vocal advocate not only for foster parenting, but for single parent fostering and adoption.
“I’ve always known since high school age that fostering or adopting was something I wanted to do,” said Vedeikis, who has been a teacher in the Rowan County school system for 18 years. “I kept waiting for the right time. I always said God would open the window and give me a sign. My sister saw an article in the paper about an information session at Nazareth (Child & Family Connection). I went and I was hooked.
“My aunt was a foster parent a long time ago and I knew I was going to do this. It just took a long time to get myself to this point … a point of clarity.”
The information session was for a 10-week foster parenting and adoption class last winter that Nazareth Child & Family Connection offers twice a year. Vedeikis completed the class, followed up with all needed paperwork and was licensed by the state of North Carolina. A similar information session is slated for August 14 at Nazareth’s Salisbury office.
This past summer, Vedeikis got the call that two sisters, ages six and seven were in need of fostering.
“My whole thing is God wouldn’t give me what I can’t handle, and I jumped right on in,” said Vedeikis.
Vedeikis is single, and she admits the prospect of foster-parenting by herself gave her pause.
“That is probably the one thing that was in the back of my mind all the time: ‘Am I going to be able to do this myself.’ There’s no good cop, bad cop, I’m going to have to do it all,” she said.
“Most of the time you don’t hear of single people doing it. There was another girl in my class that was single, and we were a support system for each other, and I have a very supportive family and group of friends. And of course, Nazareth is there to help when you need it.”
The two little girls lived with Vedeikis for 45 days, a joyful and rewarding time for the foster mom. But the siblings transitioned into their grandparent’s home, reuniting them with family. It was a bittersweet time.
“That was one of the roughest moments ever because you become so attached. But spending so much time with them and realizing I was making their life easier and providing them opportunities to grow and be kids and not worry about things,” said Vedeikis. “But I had to constantly talk myself through it, that they have gone with family members and that will be good and that I’ve done a lot to help them.
“It was rough, but I’ve made it through this. I’m a teacher. I see kids leave me every year and I cry. This is different because they are with you day and night. But in the heart-of-hearts, this is what God wanted me to do and I pray that I’ve helped them.”
And it hasn’t slowed Vedeikis’ drive to foster and eventually adopt. “In fact, it just drove the part that this was what I was supposed to do. My heart was broken, but I knew I wouldn’t stop because they left. There are other kids out there that need me.”
Vedeikis says a vitally important part of her journey has been the help and support of Nazareth Child & Family Connection, from the information session and 10-week fostering class to support through the licensing process to answering the phone when she called for advice or help.
“I’m so thankful I did that,” she said of the Nazareth class. “My experience with Nazareth has been nothing but the best experience. They were always there to answer questions. They are another piece of the support that I’ve needed and had. That class was a blessing.”
Vedeikis is constantly encouraging friends and strangers alike to take a look at foster parenting to see if it is a fit for them. The best first step, she says, is to attend Nazareth’s next fostering and adoption information session.
Registration can be made by calling 704.279.5556 EXT 111 or visiting: https://bit.ly/2zPA0Te.