Christina and Tyler Goodman, who live in Surprise, are teaching their five children, Tayah (11), Logan (9), Teagan (7), Tatum (6), and Landon (almost 2), what it means to give and serve others as a family.
“Our oldest daughter Tayah, decided one morning to wake up early and leave thankful notes on the doorsteps of the neighbors in our cul-de-sac,” said Christina. “Since then, almost every holiday we drop off special treats to our neighbors. It has been so fun and a great way to get to know them. We have been doing this for over 2 years now.”
The family is also involved with their church and Christina says they enjoy serving with the community there.
In June of 2020, the Goodmans decided to embark on another way of giving and serving by becoming foster parents. In the height of the pandemic, Christina said it was quite a challenge to go through the fostering process.
“It was a very different experience during that time,” she said. “Everything was online and social distancing was at its peak.” But, in 2021, they received their license and were ready to start fostering. “We began our fostering journey with two goals: to keep the children entering our home safe and loved, and to foster to adopt,” said Christina. “We believe in reunification and its importance. However, if we had the chance to adopt, we were ready and excited to do it.”
Opportunity came knocking and it wasn’t long before the Goodmans got their first placement and, much to their surprise, a chance to adopt. “Our first placement was meant to be with us for a few short months,” said Christina. “However, things change quickly and drastically sometimes in the Foster Care world and our sweet baby boy is now our forever son as of April this year! We are so grateful for him and love him to pieces.”
While the process to adopt their son, Landon, was something Christina said they wouldn’t change a thing about, she also said it was filled with many emotional ups and downs–all part of the fostering journey. “Fostering is a challenging but worthwhile experience,” she said. “It is not a career or a way to make money at all.”
However, with the right support, the Goodmans say there are ways to make the experience a bit smoother. “We have found that there are various opportunities and classes that are available to foster parents to help your foster child(ren) navigate through the trauma they have experienced,” Christina said. “These classes have helped us greatly.”
She also mentioned that they found it helpful to connect with other foster parents who can relate to what they were going through. “Sometimes you just need a person to talk with who understands. They often will have a resource or suggestion that might be beneficial. The more people you have in your tribe the better.”
Christina added that the most important thing they’ve discovered has been making time for themselves. “Almost every visit that we have with our licensing worker, we are asked the question, ‘What are you doing to take care of yourself?’ We have learned so far in our journey that date night is important.
Taking a few minutes for yourself to breathe will help you get through those challenging days.”
In addition to their own fostering journey, the Goodmans also participate in pajama drives to benefit other foster children. Christina became Arizona’s first volunteer with Jambos, a Georgia-based non-profit organization that provides new pajamas to kids in foster care.
“I chose to volunteer with this organization because they know that the journey of a child in foster care is stressful, confusing, and often uncertain,” said Christina. “They believe that even the simplest basic necessity, such as pajamas, can bring a bit of comfort and a bit of light to a child in foster care.”
Jambos invites local schools, businesses, churches and organizations to host donation sites. The pajamas collected at the sites benefit Arizona kids in foster care. Christina says it’s something she’s found to be a rewarding experience. “During this journey I have met some fantastic people who are gracious and have such giving hearts,” she said.
The Goodmans try to involve their kids in pajama collections, too. “We make doing pajama drives a family affair, as much as possible. It has been so fun watching my kids collect pajamas with me and local partners.”
Whether it’s being involved in their church, participating in pajama drives, or their journey with foster care and adoption, Christina says they are just on a mission to lead by example and teach their children to do good for others.
“My husband and I want to make sure that our kids know that serving others is important.”
3 Tips for Families Considering Foster Care:
Do your research. When you are searching for a licensing agency don’t be afraid to call or visit them. There are so many great agencies in the valley. Find the one that would be the best fit for your family.
Have a tribe behind you. The foster care world definitely has its challenges. Make sure that you have a support team such as family or friends that believe and support the journey you are wanting to take.
Keep in mind that plans change often in the foster care world. Stay upbeat and remember that your job is to keep your foster child(ren) safe and loved. (This mindset helped us so much.)
Anyone interested in hosting a pajama drive through Jambos can visit jambosdonates.com