National Foster Care Month: Supporting Foster Families in Pensacola


National Foster Care Month

In Northwest Florida, there are nearly 600 children in foster care and over 407,000 children and youth in foster care within the United States. The month of May is a special time to recognize the critical role that members from all parts of child welfare play in supporting children, youth, and families.

We are so lucky here at Pensacola Mom Collective to have two women, Monique Cossich and Tara Spencer, on the writing team who have welcomed children into their homes through foster care before pursuing adoption.

I was fortunate to hear their experiences and perspectives about being foster parents. In honor of their service and unconditional love for children, I am humbled to share their stories with you so we can learn how to love and support children in foster care and foster families. 

What Led You to Fostering?


After experiencing years of infertility, Monique and her husband slowly came to terms with the idea that they may not be able to have children of their own. Eventually, they decided to attend an informational meeting about foster care, but the meeting left them feeling like they were not good candidates. The training schedule was non-negotiable, and it conflicted with their work responsibilities. However, they came across a different agency run by a church, and they were much more flexible and willing to work with dependable prospective foster parents. Monique and her husband knew they wanted to adopt children, so this was their opportunity to grow their family.

Monique and her husband with their boys at the baseball field


Tara and her husband also experienced infertility and decided to become parents through adoption from foster care. After looking at all of their options, including IVF and Private Adoption, they decided this was what was best, and they wanted to make a difference in the life of the children they would adopt. When they got the call for their first son, the termination of parental rights was not completed. So to move him into their home sooner, they switched from being adoptive parents to being foster and adoptive parents. After his adoption, they decided to continue to foster. Tara and her husband went on to foster and adopt two more children.

Tara and her family

What was Most Helpful from Your Family, Friends, and Community?

Monique & Tara

  • Non-judgmental encouragement!
  • Gifting the foster family with any age-appropriate items or hand-me-downs. If the children are older, gift cards are greatly appreciated as they often don’t have clothes that represent their style.
  • When the family welcomes a new child into their home, consider sending them a card of celebration or encouragement! These words of affirmation do wonders when they’re loaded down with new responsibilities and countless appointments.
  • Come over and be a helping hand, or just someone to talk to. You may consider asking the foster family what the guidelines are about who can watch the child(ren). Giving the parents a chance to rest for just a few hours can be so life-giving and a much-needed reset!
  • If you are a foster parent, look for community churches that offer foster family events. That is the best no judgment zone, especially for older foster children. Also, keep an eye out for foster parent night out! These opportunities are amazing!

Something that Monique shared with me that put things into perspective:

You have nine months to mentally and physically prepare for your baby when you are pregnant. But as foster parents, they had a few days, maybe even just a few hours. So any support you can give is very much appreciated.

What to Know if You are Considering Fostering?


It is hard. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Monique’s husband says it perfectly, “Why would we protect ourselves and not allow ourselves to get hurt when these innocent children have been hurting for a long time.” You need to be ready to advocate for the child, ask questions, document everything and have thick skin. Most of all, be prepared to treat the child and love the child as your own instantly. They have to know your home is a loving and safe environment. She encourages you to pray about it and talk to others to learn from their experiences.


Can you imagine someone showing up to your home or job, putting you in a car, and placing you in a whole new environment without any of your belongings? Never knowing what is next or if you will be moved again and again? Not having a say in where you go, what you take, or who you stay with?

How would you feel? How would you act? Would you be angry, would you cry, would you be able to sleep, would you talk to these new people? That’s exactly what these children go through. This perspective will ground you and keep you focused on the bigger picture.

All of these children are not little monsters, mentally ill, or looking to hurt you or your family. The majority of them are innocent babies that unfortunately were born or living in a situation that was not the best for them, and foster care should be there to show them that they deserve to be loved, cared for, clothed, fed, etc. They need someone who truly cares!

What organizations or agencies have been helpful in my experiences?

Monique said that she found Embrace Florida Kids very flexible and recommends this organization.

Tara had an excellent experience with Emerald Coast Foster Adoptive Parent Association, Inc. Through this organization, they give items away for free, great advice, and contacts for help with the Department of Children and Families. Crown Church was a haven for them and allowed us to hold meetings there. They also did field/carnival days for foster children and offered “date night.”

A fellow PMC writer wrote about My Father’s Arrow, a ministry to orphans/fosters providing advocacy, provision, and support to abused, neglected, and abandoned children. This is a fantastic organization to learn more about!

I hope you find these women’s stories inspiring! During May, consider opening your heart to lend a hand within the foster care system.


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