By Jane Zettlemoyer
Erin and Jason Bateman had for a long time wanted to work with children, so they relied on divine intervention to make this happen.
As Erin describes it, “We both have had a heart for children at-risk and we knew that God was calling us to work with children. We just didn’t know what that was supposed to look like.”
In 2011, they had plans to move to Egypt to work with an organization that worked with children with special needs. However, due to civil unrest, that particular organization had to withdraw from the country, so they continued to stay involved with their church and the youth program, while waiting to see what God had in store for them.
A few years later, Erin’s parents became kinship foster parents to a friend’s children. This eventually led her parents to adopting three of the siblings.
Erin continues the journey by stating, “As we watched my parents welcome my new sisters into our family, we were exposed to the need for foster parents in our area. We had a desire to be a safe place for children in care while they waited to be reunified or adopted. Some research led us to CONCERN and we haven’t looked back since!”
In 2016, Erin and Jason completed the necessary requirements and trainings and became foster parents. Eventually, this led to Erin and Jason fostering four children, who have since been reunified with their biological families, and adopting two other children.
In April 2017, they decided to adopt Daniel, who was in need of a forever home. Most recently, in March 2020, they expanded their family yet again by adopting a toddler, Samuel, and welcoming him into their home.
This past year with the COVID-19 pandemic has been a learning process for the entire family. Their oldest child was already in cyber school, so there was no learning transition for him. However, being a very active and busy family, missing church, playdates, and recreational activities, and spending less time with extended family, has been difficult, but they have found their ‘new normal’ and a new routine as many of us have.
“It has been a privilege to work with the staff at CONCERN,” states Erin. “This includes Amri Love (Southeast office Caseworker) and Amy Gramlich (Southeast office Supervisor) and Flo Westley (Adoption and Permanency Services Manager). They have truly become an extension of our family!”
Erin continues, “They have always advocated for what is best for our kids. They have professionally helped us handle some frustrating situations, and they are always available. They always make us feel like our concerns are valid and important, and make our kids feel special and loved. They truly care and are invested!”
As for her views on fostering, Erin admits that, “Foster care is the hardest and most challenging thing we have ever done, but it is also the most rewarding thing we have ever done!”
“The children and families we have met have become extensions of our family. The wins far outweigh the hardest of days, and no matter what happens, it is always worth it to invite a child into the safety of your home, whether it is temporary or forever.”