The Importance of Bridging

Janis felt alone in this world. After losing her parents, and finding herself on a path she didn’t intend, she was fighting an uphill battle with addiction and struggling to keep her family together. Eventually, her children were removed from her custody. Understandably, she started to feel like everyone involved in this process with her children were her enemies. But then, something changed. 

Janis worked hard to rebuild herself and focus on recovery. At this point, she had missed all of her children’s “firsts” and knew she didn’t want to miss the rest. Throughout this time, her children had been in an Anna’s House home with parents, Ladonna and DJ. 

Ladonna and DJ know that foster care isn’t just about the children, but fighting for the family as a whole. They leaned in. They didn’t give up on Janis, they brought her into their family as well. 

At Anna’s House, we know the importance of “bridging the gap,” which is the process of building and maintaining relationships and communication between the birth and foster families involved in a child’s life. The goal of bridging the gap is to support family reunification or another permanency plan. 

DJ knows the importance of bridging that gap as well and says, “bridging is helping the family get back together, and if we can help the parents make that home better for their children, that’s where they need to be.”

Ladonna and DJ walked hand in hand with Janis while she worked to do just that. As foster parents, they make sure that they, and the children in their care, are in church every week. That invitation is extended to their families as well so Janis was able to get back into a loving relationship with the Lord. 

As she looks to lead her family spiritually, Janis acknowledges, “I’m not raising these kids on my own. I have Jesus, I have God. They have a Father, and I have a helper. That’s a big difference from how it was before.” She went on to say, “it was really different to have someone who was as excited about my kids as I was” and, “I just wish that other families would be able to experience what we have.” She credits Ladonna and DJ’s relationship and example, for changing the trajectory of her family’s future. 

Now, with her children back at home, Janis is thankful for the help and understanding she found through Anna’s House and in Ladonna and DJ. She shared this heart-felt thank you to the foster parents who changed everything, “Thank you for loving my kids like they were yours. Thank you for never giving me anything to worry about while my kids were with you. And thank you for loving me, and being my friend.”