Fostering With Flexibility

My family’s personal Fearless Unrivaled Flexibility (FUF) journey officially began about a year and a half ago. For the last 13 years, we’d been a family of three (or five if you count the dogs). During that time, the idea of expanding our family has been sporadically discussed. Commitments to our son, his sports, our relationship, our careers, and our family and friends were always excuses not to expand our family, but the thought always lingered in the back of our minds.

After much thought, discussion, and prayer, we decided that we wanted to become a foster home (with the plan to adopt). We gathered the paperwork, applied to the state’s program, attended the weeks of after-hours trainings, completed the child proofing, collected baby clothes and supplies, and after a year we received our license to foster children. 

Since then, we have fostered a 13-month-old who we were able to provide a home for three weeks before the state returned her to her parents. Shortly after our first foster baby left, my wife got a new job with our local school district and was starting that job in about a week. I was out of town for business, when I got a call from the foster placement team about a four-day-old baby girl that needed an immediate foster home. Though I already knew the answer, I called my wife to confirm that she also wanted to foster this newborn baby, of course her answer was YES! So, I called the foster placement team back and let them know that we would take her, and that my wife was available to pick her up. Later that day, my wife picked up our newborn foster baby from the hospital and as soon as my meetings were completed I rushed back home to meet our newest addition.

After we calmed down a bit from all of the excitement, reality set in—a four-day-old baby cannot go to daycare. She would have to be at least six weeks old. Luckily, my wife still had a week before her new job started and she would be off for the week of Thanksgiving, but we still had four more weeks to cover. What were we going to do? Would my wife have to quit her new job? Do I have enough PTO time?

That’s when we remembered that HORNE has Fearless Unrivaled Flexibility. I called my director and told her the situation. I asked if it would be possible for me to work from home for the remaining four weeks. She said that as long as I could support my projects and meet the team’s needs then we could give it a shot. From then on there were many conference calls, Skype meetings and Go to Meetings with a baby sitting in my lap. There were some odd hours worked to meet project needs and deadlines, and even some left handed mouse navigation, while holding the baby with my right arm. There were the occasional coos and other baby sounds in the background to make the conference calls more interesting for the team, but I’m happy to say it was a complete success!  

Our foster baby is now five months old and my schedule has been back to normal for several months. But when I think back to those four weeks, I am reminded how very thankful I am for HORNE’s Fearless Unrivaled Flexibility! I am also reminded how very thankful I am for my team members and director for supporting me during that time. But, I also wouldn’t have been able to experience that flexibility if I didn't ask for what I needed. So I encourage you to speak up and have those conversations.

FUF has allowed my family the opportunity to provide a foster home to a child in need. And while we won’t know for several more months if she will become eligible for us to adopt, without FUF we would not have been able to have this chance to grow our family and be a part of this beautiful baby’s life. I’m so thankful HORNE is Fearless, Unrivaled, and Flexible and empowers their team members to be the same!

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About the Author

Matt is a service transformation senior manager with extensive PA Disaster Recovery and CDBG Disaster Recovery program experience. He is learning to navigate the unique challenges of career/life integration with creativity and flexibility, allowing him to maintain a high level of commitment to his family, his team and his clients.

Topics: Flexibility, Culture, Collaboration, Fearless Unrivaled Flexibility

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