Garrett & Amber Holcombe

Our primary foster parents become full-time caretakers to the foster youth placed in their care. As a licensed sibling reunification agency, we focus on foster homes able to take in 2 or more youth. The increased work of caring for multiple foster youth is balanced with higher daily payment rates, low case management turnover, applicable and relevant trainings, foster parent support groups, and partnerships with respite foster parents to provide an occasional break.

Garrett and Amber Holcombe were two of our first foster parents. In June 2018 the siblings that they had fostered for 908 days became part of their family. Their story shows clearly that fostering is not always easy, but it is rewarding beyond belief. Garrett was willing to share their Goshen Story.

“In late December 2015, Amber received a call from Cherokee County DFCS asking us if we would be willing to foster the children of one of Amber’s friends should the children be removed from their home that night. We immediately said we would be happy to do so, and the next day we had an 8 year old boy and 10 year old girl in our two-bedroom townhome with us. Having never been parents before we got a crash course in parenthood.”

“After a rough first few months of fostering, I caught up with Zach Blend and he described the new foster home branch that Goshen Valley had started. He invited Amber and me to sit down with him and the director of Goshen Homes. Zach was a lifesaver. He and Goshen Homes surrounded us with love, support, and resources like a big, warm hug! We became licensed foster parents through their tutelage and were able to receive training so we could provide for our precious foster children’s physical needs as well as their emotional needs. The case managers, support staff, and directors with Goshen Homes were so knowledgeable and supportive of us as much as they were with the kids.”

“The process and journey of fostering a child can be turbulent. I liken our sojourn through 2.5 years of fostering as being a boat on the ocean with no engine – you are at the mercy of the wind, weather, and waves. In our case, we had moments of calm in between being tossed about by storms – biological parent visitations and hectic communications, court dates with little or no progress, and the children’s negative reactions to both. Goshen Valley was always there for us, checking in and making sure Amber and I were prepared for whatever might come our way.”

“On June 25th, 2018 after fostering them for 908 days, we welcomed Matthew and Samantha as forever part of our family. What started as nothing more than wanting information turned into finding our forever family. Without Zach Blend, along with the marvelous folks at Goshen Valley and Goshen Homes, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We owe so much to Goshen Valley and cannot thank them enough for all they have done for us. While our fulltime foster campaign may have come to an end, we will soon be providing respite care for other Goshen Homes families.”

Greg and Virginia Elder

Our respite foster parents become the “cool aunt and uncle” to our foster youth. As a respite foster parent, you are able to have an incredible impact on a foster child without the full time commitment of having them live in your home. In addition to the impact on the child, respite care allows our foster parents to take a breather and recharge.

Greg and Virgina Elder have been respite foster parents with Goshen Valley for over two years, and they have shared some of their Goshen Story. 

“We became interested in foster care after attending the Cherokee Homecoming panel discussion in early 2016. At this event we learned that there were over 100 children from Cherokee County in foster care who were having to be housed outside of Cherokee County due to a lack of foster parents within the County, and that siblings were being spilt up in the process.”

“After some discussion, prayer, and discernment, we determined that our schedules would not permit us to be full time foster parents.  Then we learned about Respite Foster Care.”

“We learned that full time foster parents need a “break” from time to time, and we learned of the obstacles to traveling out of state with foster children. Respite Foster Care was a solution that also helped full time foster parents from “burning out”.  Knowing that there was already a shortage of full time foster parents in Cherokee County, Virginia and I decided that Respite Foster Care was a way we could help.  With grown children and 2 empty bedrooms we felt God calling us to move in this way.”

“Our first placement was a teenage boy who we kept for around a week. Since we both still work full time we were grateful that Goshen Homes had an agreement with the YMCA where we could take him during the day.  The evenings were filled with several adventures including a Braves game, fishing at a nearby pond and watching fireworks from a boat on the 4th of July.  We enjoyed our time with him and were sad to see him go as he returned to his full time foster family. Our time since then has included older boys and more recently, two sisters. We’ve kept them twice now, and they have captured our hearts.”

“These children deserve and need a loving environment.  Their full time foster parents need a breather from time to time.  As a Respite Foster Care parent you control your schedule, and the Goshen Team supports you in every way possible.  Your commitment is whatever you make it, whenever you can make it.”

“Respite Foster Care is well suited for busy, working couples who have a little extra room in their homes, their schedules, and in their hearts for children who need to know that others care. If you have any questions about Respite Foster Care, we would love to talk with you.”