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David and Melissa Bailey began their journey with Catholic Charities International Foster Care in June of 2014 after adopting two babies out of domestic foster care. Here is what they had to say about their experience opening their home five boys. Boys who are each survivors. Boys they now call son. Boys who are also refugees.

From the moment the home developer met with us, we knew this was the direction God intended for the next chapter of our life. The energetic team at Catholic Charities is unparalleled to any other we had previously worked with. All of the employees treated us with respect and were so happy to welcome us to the program. As foster parents, we come into the program thinking we are super heroes; prepared to rescue kids. Then reality sets in. And you realize how much trauma these children have been through just to have a chance at a life without violence, so they do not necessarily have that opinion of you when they walk through your front door. Preservation of life becomes their new normal and the children must go through great journeys filled with tragedy and unknown circumstances to hope for a life of opportunity. When the call came asking if we would accept Muslim children into our home, we did not hesitate and were happy to welcome the two children as our first placement. International Foster Care is a unique situation in which children are very happy to be free from tragedy and constant fear. The children are grateful to be in a safe environment, but many things can be difficult to overcome immediately.

Our first placement of two teenagers from Myanmar was unsteady at first. The boys had never had pets like we do in America. All of their previous contact with dogs and cats were negative, so they were terrified of our animals. We did not think they would be able to get past this and were worried they may not want to continue in our home.  Thankfully, we found a solution for the first 30 days and were able to ease the boys into life with pets that are not going to harm you. These two boys have been with us for almost three years now. We have had five placements in our home thus far. Each is a son added to our family. All of our immediate and extended family members accept our children and love them as if they had been here since birth. David stays at home and takes care of the household. A lot of training and new ways of life are needed every day for each member of our home. We are learning from each other and understanding the desires of our children to help them be successful once they leave our home. We get to know their personalities and strengths, which comes in very handy when it is time to decide on a career path and future education. Currently, we have three International Foster Children in our home. Our two eldest moved into transitional living at the latter part of 2016, which gives them the opportunity to be more independent and get ready for college.

We are open to a new placement and know God is in control to bring the newest family member into our home.  David and I decided a long time ago to invest in lives. Material goods pass away or they deteriorate over time and do not bring satisfaction to your life. What we do in the lives of others is what counts for us. Skype and Facebook have become social media outlets for us to meet their extended family and friends all over the world. Each day we talk about God, we pray, and we live to be an example of the goodness we have in our lives because of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for us. The joy that comes from opening yourself up to others is indescribable and fulfilling. Being able to watch your sons play on the school soccer team, listen as their boss and coworkers tell you what a great work ethic they have, or see how their school teachers continue to remain in their lives because of the impact they have on others is just a huge blessing to our heart. Catholic Charities has given us this tremendous opportunity and responsibility that we do not dare take lightly. We are encouraged by each employee and always looked at as an asset to the program, which gives us such reassurance. This is a terrific partnership by a charitable program and a family which we hope to continue for many years. Thank you CCFW and IFC for always treating us with respect and thank you to the amazing donors that we have had the opportunity to receive donations from. I cannot even begin to describe how grateful we are. Our family continues to grow and increase; we are The Bailey Clan and we wouldn’t have our lives be any different than they are today.