If anyone knows about the extraordinary experience of welcoming a child into their family, it’s Rebecca Grogan. As a labor and delivery nurse at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, she has watched countless births and beautiful moments of bonding between parents and their new babies.
She and her husband, James, a pastor, have also welcomed three children of their own — ages 6, 8 and 10 — so when Angels Foster Care Family Network, a local foster family agency, received the Grogans’ application to serve as foster parents, they knew they had well-qualified candidates.
According to Grogan, becoming a foster parent was not a difficult decision. There is paperwork, of course, along with a personality test, orientation, home inspection and training. But the end result is experiencing the joy in helping a child learn to love and laugh again.
“There will be ups and downs, but it’s the same with any children,” says Grogan. “We just do our best, and we receive a lot of support from the Angels staff. I’ve also been incredibly lucky because Sharp has been so kind in allowing me to take the time I’ve needed to bond with each child.”
Fostering has also had an effect on Grogan’s work. The training to become a foster parent is rigorous. The specialized classes cover practical parenting skills and psychology along with key principles to child development, infant care, working with people in trauma and the importance of infant attachment. It’s no surprise that Grogan finds herself using many of those skills in labor and delivery.
“Being a foster parent has made me more aware of difficult family situations or challenges that others are facing,” says Grogan. “I treat people differently because I am more understanding. A foster family learns to care for others before themselves — there are times when the whole family has to sacrifice for the betterment of the foster child just as there are times in labor and delivery when I have to put the patients’ needs before all others.”
While Grogan admits that it can be painful to say goodbye to the children she has come to love when they leave her home, she trusts that each child is with her family for the time they need and ready to move on to their forever home.
“We are so blessed to have had these babies in our family,” says Grogan. “These children allow us to care for them, nurture their brain development, cultivate their ability to create loving bonds, and to teach our own children how rewarding it is to take care of other people. Yes, we are blessed.”