Caleb and Amie Bowman had long known they wanted to provide foster care, but until recently, doing it full-time didn’t seem possible.

Caleb is the senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Derby, and Amie is a stay-at-home mother heavily involved in the church’s preschool program. They have three young kids of their own under 10, so they were busy. But they made time to do short-term foster parenting through respite care and police protective care, and still do.

As their three kids grew older, the Bowmans grew more comfortable with taking foster children full time, of fully opening their “heart for orphan ministry,” as Amie explains. So, in 2019, when a 15-year-old girl needed help, they made the leap.

“We knew that teenager, and we had to take her. It just felt like it was God’s calling that she needed to come to stay with us. We got our feet wet,” Amie says, of putting the foster care license they earned in 2014 to maximum use.

With a teenager, it was a learning process of realizing the need to set expectations and explain routines. The 10 months the teen stayed with them before the hope-for goal – reintegration with family – was achieved.

“Our 15-year-old brought fun into our life again,” Amie says. “At that point in our life, we had gotten nose to the grindstone with busy ministry and busy kids. She brought some fun into the mix and reminded us it’s okay to slow down and enjoy.”

Their next longer-term placement – a 2-day-old girl named Laiyah – didn’t bring a lot of slowing down, but she brought joy. The Bowmans have since adopted the baby girl their oldest calls a “real get-in-ster,” as she’s into everything, and are also fostering a sibling.

“Our kids have always really been supportive of it,” Amie says. “They are just used to loving on whoever is in our house.”

They’ve found EmberHope Youthville supportive throughout the process. The Bowman’s praise foster care worker Leigha Williams, who’s been along on their complete eight-year journey. And the fill-in worker who “saw it all the way through” when Leigha was gone. And the “amazing” intake worker who recalled so many details.

“They are so faith-based. They’re doing this for God’s glory,” Amie says of EmberHope and its team.

With such experience, the Bowmans have insights for those considering foster parenting.

“You need to know what you’re getting into, but if you’re feeling called to do it, you should. You are impacting others. It’s very rewarding,” Amie says.

“Foster care isn’t for everybody,” Caleb adds, “but it’s probably for more people than realize it.”

“We often hear, ‘I don’t know if I could do that, I don’t know if I could put my heart out there,’” Amie says. “What I’d say to that is, ‘If you don’t do it, who will?’”