By Sherida Mock
Photos By Jon Vineyard
Inearly 2010, Jill and Brent Price made a call that changed their lives. Several months before, their church hosted a presentation by STARRY, the Round Rock-based agency that provides counseling, foster care and adoption services. “We were interested at the time, and then life happened,” says Jill. But on that day in 2010, they took the first step in a journey that has led them to provide foster care to 22 kids—and to give a forever home to 5-year-old Sam.
Jill sat down to speak with us in late September. The meeting itself was a testament to her wealth of love and patience. Against the cacophonous backdrop of a fast food playroom and at the end of a full workday at her new job, she answered our questions as she fed Sam and Micah (not his real name), a foster child just shy of 2 who arrived at her home only two days prior.
AFM: Tell us about your family.
Price: We’ve been married 31 and a half years, and we have five children: four biological and one adopted. They range from 30, 26, almost 24, 21 and 5. [laughs]
AFM: What’s it like transitioning a new child into your family?
Price: It can be really hard and wonderful at the same time. There’s a lot to learn, because you don’t know the child. You don’t know their habits. Even things like what they like to eat and what kind of cup they drink out of. And everything for them is such a big change. We try to think about what they need and be patient and kind and assuring that we love them and they’re being cared for. We’re excited to get to know the new kids, but we also know that because they’re with us, they’re going through something terrible.
AFM: Have you fostered continuously?
Price: We started in 2010, and we fostered pretty much straight through for about five years. We took a break in 2015. We were not done, but we just emotionally needed a break. Then we started back this summer. My husband was the one who said, “I don’t think we’re done yet.”
AFM: What’s the youngest age you’ve taken in?
Price: In 2015, we did cradle care for Adoption Advocates [a local adoption agency]. Those babies had adoptive parents waiting for them, but their paperwork couldn’t be finalized in time. They came straight from the hospital to us.
AFM: What’s the longest that you’ve fostered someone?
Price: Continously, we had three little girls for just short of a year. We had a teenager that we had over the course of three years, but she wasn’t with us continuously. She was the oldest we’ve fostered. We typically weren’t taking teenagers, because we had a teen boy and were trying to avoid any conflict. But we knew her, and she specifically asked to stay with us. I love her. She’s still in our lives.
AFM: Do you usually get to stay in touch?
Price: Sometimes. This teen was part of a sibling group. We had four of the eight kids at one time. They’ve visited us a few times. We’re Facebook friends with a few of them. You know, they’ve grown. They were little when we had them, but that was almost seven years ago. Some of them are adults now. With most of our foster kids, the parents don’t stay in contact. And that’s okay. That’s understandable. You’re trying to get your family back together. You don’t need that reminder.
AFM: How did you learn about Sam’s story?
Price: Sam came to us as a foster child when he was 9 days old. He came straight from the hospital to us. He is the first baby we ever took, and when he came to us he wasn’t adoptable—you know, that wasn’t the deal. We weren’t looking to adopt, but it became evident within the first year that probably he was going to be with us longer. We legally adopted him this summer. It was very exciting for all of us and really cool for him, too. He is old enough to understand it.
AFM: How much longer do you think you’ll be fostering?
Price: I don’t see an end in sight. We’re capable and able. I’m sure at some point, we’ll feel led that we’re done. God kind of told us that we weren’t done, and there’s just a sense that you have more to give.
AFM: Anything you’d like to add?
Price: I would encourage anybody, if they have even an inkling of a thought about it, to check into fostering or adopting, because it’s life-changing and amazing. And the truth is, there are a lot of kids out there that need someone to love them, and it’s not hard to love. It’s kind of like that song, “If I didn’t take the chance, I would’ve missed the dance.” I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There’s lots of kids out there sleeping in CPS offices at night. We always tell people, “We know how you can make it happen.” I just wish more people would.
Want to know more about foster care and adoption? Attend one of these information sessions hosted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:
Nov. 14, 6 p.m.
DFPS Office, 140000 Summit Dr. Austin
Nov. 14, 6 p.m.
Bannockburn Church 7100 Brodie Ln.A ustin
What It Takes
Prospective foster or adoptive parents can be single or married. They must meet these requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old and financially stable
- Complete an application
- Submit to a criminal history background check
- Provide references, both relative and non-relative
- Agree to a home study
- Attend free training
To learn more, visit dfps.state.tx.us