Jessica Langill opens up her heart and home to foster care children and their families02/15/23 10:00:am
Jessica Langill, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion coordinator, and her wife, Dana, have always wanted children.
“There are a lot of kids already in the world who need loving homes,” says Jessica. “We decided we’re at a place in our lives where we’re settled, and we felt it was time to become foster parents.”
The process involved a lot of paperwork and meetings.
“From start to finish it took about a year,” she says. “We began with an agency, then switched to Children’s Wisconsin. We attended meetings to learn about foster care and we made sure our home was safe for children, which included several home visits. We completed background checks, provided references from friends and family, shared information about our finances, and had several very personal interviews. I was glad to see they really vet foster families.”
Officially licensed in February 2022, the Langills were open to fostering children from birth to 2 years of age. A month later, they received a call about a child in need.
“We accepted placement of a 6-week-old baby boy,” she says. “We cared for him for 10 months, and he was reunified with his family just before Christmas. His mom did everything she needed to have him placed back in her home. We were asked to be his godparents and we still see him weekly.”
Meanwhile, last June, the Langills also got a call about a pregnant teenager.
“We met her and gave her the option to stay with us and she did,” she says. “She gave birth a few weeks after moving in. Recently, she got her own apartment and they moved out, but they’re close enough for us to continue to help and babysit.”
Currently, the Langills are caring for a 2-month-old girl.
“We picked her up from the hospital when she was just five days old,” she says. “We’re fortunate to have good communication with her mom who is doing what she needs to for reunification. We have no idea how long she’ll be staying with us.”
Jessica says reuniting children with their family is always the goal if at all possible.
“Good communication with the parents is important,” she explains. “We text every day and send photos. We also invite them to all the doctor appointments. We want to co-parent as best as we can and as much as the parent or parents are able to do that. If there’s ever a situation where the child couldn’t return to their parents, we are open to adoption.”
Jessica says fostering is difficult, but very rewarding.
“We really love the children who have been placed with us,” she says. “And sometimes people need extra support. It’s gratifying to know we are able to provide a safe place and are helping a family get back together. We realize how important it is to have as many people as possible love and care for a child.”
She encourages anyone who may be considering becoming a foster parent to take the first step.
“100% I would say just do it,” she says. “It’s been nothing but a good experience for us. There’s no shortage of children needing foster homes and foster parents are in short supply. You can do hard things. Fostering is really a chance to not only help a child in need, but also help the entire family unit.”