Rowan County teacher, single parent fulfills dream of fostering
ROCKWELL — Amy Vedeikis has known since she was a teenager that she would become a foster parent someday and possibly even adopt a child in need of a stable family life.
Late last winter, she put a plan into action. Today, she is a vocal advocate not only for foster parenting but for single-parent fostering and adoption.
“I’ve always known since high school age that fostering or adopting was something I wanted to do,” said Vedeikis, who has been a teacher in the Rowan County school system for 18 years. “I kept waiting for the right time. I always said God would open the window and give me a sign.”
Her sister saw an article in the paper about an information session at Nazareth Child & Family Connection.
“I went, and I was hooked,” said Vedeikis, whose aunt was also a foster parent. “It just took a long time to get myself to this point — point of clarity.”
The information session was for a 10-week foster parenting and adoption class last winter that Nazareth Child & Family Connection offers twice a year. Vedeikis completed the class, followed up with required paperwork and was licensed by the state.
A similar information session is scheduled for Aug. 14 at Nazareth’s Salisbury office.
Early this summer Vedeikis got the call that two sisters, ages 6 and 7, were in need of fostering.
“My whole thing is God wouldn’t give me what I can’t handle, and I jumped right on in,” said Vedeikis.
Vedeikis is single, and she admits the prospect of foster parenting by herself gave her pause.
“That is probably the one thing that was in the back of my mind all the time: ‘Am I going to be able to do this myself.’ There’s no good-cop, bad-cop; I’m going to have to do it all,” she said.
“Most of the time, you don’t hear of single people doing it. There was another girl in my class that was single, and we were a support system for each other. And I have a very supportive family and group of friends. And, of course, Nazareth is there to help when you need it.”
The two girls lived with Vedeikis for 45 days, a joyful and rewarding time for the foster mom. But the siblings transitioned into their grandparents’ home, reuniting them with family. It was a bittersweet time.
“That was one of the roughest moments ever because you become so attached. Spending so much time with them and realizing I was making their life easier and providing them opportunities to grow and be kids and not worry about things,” said Vedeikis. “But I had to constantly talk myself through it, that they have gone with family members and that will be good, and that I’ve done a lot to help them.
“It was rough, but I’ve made it through this. I’m a teacher. I see kids leave me every year, and I cry. This is different because they are with you day and night. But in the heart-of-hearts, this is what God wanted me to do, and I pray that I’ve helped them.”
The experience hasn’t slowed Vedeikis’ drive to foster and eventually adopt.
“My heart was broken, but I knew I wouldn’t stop because they left. There are other kids out there that need me.”
Vedeikis says a vitally important part of her journey has been the help and support of Nazareth Child & Family Connection, from the information session and 10-week fostering class to support through the licensing process to answering the phone when she called for advice or help.
“I’m so thankful I did that,” she said of the class. “My experience with Nazareth has been nothing but the best experience. They were always there to answer questions. They are another piece of the support that I’ve needed and had. That class was a blessing.”
Vedeikis encourages friends and strangers alike to look at foster parenting to decide if it is a fit for them. The best first step, she says, is to attend Nazareth’s fostering and adoption session at 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at Nazareth’s Salisbury facility, 165 Mahaley Ave.
Registration is available by calling 704-279-5556, Ext. 111, or visiting https://bit.ly/2zPA0Te.
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