Joan and Ginger enjoy spending time together, whether it's on the phone or over a cup of coffee, swapping stories about their children and sharing the trials and joys along the journey of motherhood. Though their friendship seems rather ordinary, it began in an unlikely way.
Two years ago, new foster parents Ginger Chandler and her husband Eric welcomed their first set of siblings in their home: Robin and Charlie, two young children whose mother Joan was struggling with substance abuse. At first, their mother showed little interest in working with her social workers or taking the necessary steps to get her children back in her home. However, soon after the children were moved, Joan started at an in-patient drug treatment center. When Joan graduated from the center several months later, and the Chandlers were excited about her progress and were hopeful for her future with the children. However, the joy was short lived. Joan quickly relapsed and was out of touch with the family and her caseworkers for several months.
When Joan reconnected with the Chandlers months later, she had made the decision to try again, and she began another drug treatment program. Through determination and hard work, she completed the program and stayed on track. Over the next few months, Joan obtained a job, housing, and transportation. She had started turning her life around.
One day, while the children were still in her care, Ginger unexpectedly received a letter from Joan. In the letter, Joan shared how appreciative she was of how well the Chandlers were taking care of her children, and she apologized for all the mistakes she had made. At first, Ginger was very hesitant to reach out to Joan and asked Laura Fowler, LSG’s foster care case manager, what she should do.
“I asked her to take some time and pray about it before she made a decision,” said Laura. “When I made my next home visit, Ginger told me that she had prayed about the situation and she had a realization that God gives everyone grace and love and this is what she needed to show this birth mother.”
Ginger contacted Joan, and the women ended up talking multiple times a week on the phone. Ginger was able to be a mentor and, most importantly, a friend to Joan. Because of the open and warm relationship between the two women, Ginger was able to welcome Robin and Charlie back in her home with a smooth transition.
Ginger and Joan have continued their friendship, and see each other multiple times a month. Both women received a beautiful gift from their unique relationship.
Ginger and Eric continue to share love and grace to the birth parents of the foster children in their home. Foster parents like the Chandlers, who not only care for children but go the extra mile to help the birth parents, make families and their communities stronger. We are thankful to have them be a part of our LSG family!