Background on the family:

  • Lori Dixon and Shelly Taylor have been a couple for almost a decade
  • Together, the couple has fostered eleven children and adopted three of them
  • Lori had four kids from a previous marriage

What made you decide to become a foster parent?
Since Lori had four kids from her previous marriage, we decided that we really wanted to have a child together.

What have been your challenges with fostering?
There have been a lot of challenges with fostering. There are too many workers you have to deal with and a lot of paperwork to be completed. In addition, DHHS took too long to reimburse us for daycare and driving to parent visits, when the parents weren’t even showing up. Also, one of our children was severely drug-addicted at birth and we were not informed of this. Our child struggled with the side effects of drug addiction for weeks before we determined what was really going on.

What has been your most exciting moment as a foster parent?
The most exciting moment as a foster parent was when we became adoptive parents. After that, seeing our kids progress and make it through major milestones has been an amazing thing to watch.

What advice would you give to those who are considering becoming foster parents?
We would tell those who are considering becoming foster parents to get more informed. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about foster care, like that it is too expensive. Foster care is really the same as having your own child—you deal with the same issues and challenges.

How has your life changed since becoming a foster parent?
Our lives have changed a lot since starting as foster parents and now becoming adoptive parents. We are very busy, we are always lacking sleep, but it is so rewarding to watch our kids progress and grow.

Would you encourage others to become foster parents?
Yes, we would absolutely encourage others to become foster parents.

This is a big family decision. Did you discuss fostering with your other children before deciding to do it? What concerns, if any, did they have?
Yes, we did discuss this with our other children. Our children didn’t really have concerns, but were very excited for our family to grow. Some of our other children have developed very close relationships with our adoptive children.

Becoming a foster care provider has its own set of challenges. You opened your home to children who were born addicted to opiates. What unique challenges did that present?
There are a lot of unique challenges when opening our home to children who were born addicted to drugs. Most of the challenges are related to the health of the children. Our children do have some behavioral issues, breathing issues, and we have some upcoming surgeries. Specifically, one of our children has trichotillomania as a side effect of being born addicted to drugs. We are also very concerned about any future health issues that may come up, as we do not know much about the health history of their birth parents.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
We really just wish we hadn’t waited so long to foster and adopt. It has been such a rewarding experience for us.