Hi! We’re the Bowles family. Our family consists of my husband Brandon, me (Amanda), and our 6 kids. Four of them were adopted through foster care, one was adopted through private domestic adoption, and one is our biological child. Our children are K (14), Cullen (11), Penny (6), Jonah (4), Merrick (3) and Soren, the baby of the family. We’ve been fostering for almost 12 years and in that time we’ve had over 30 children in our home. Most have reunified with their biological families or moved to a relative’s home.
We came to ENCOUNTER 3 years ago when we heard about the Moms’ Night Out events. As a family, we were extremely exhausted and got very few breaks. The thought of getting four hours of child care for a great price was just what we needed. Our kids loved it from the first night and we quickly fell in love with the childcare staff. Eventually the Care Ministry started hosting Parents’ Night Out for the foster community, and we had another opportunity for respite.
The childcare events are such a blessing to our marriage. In foster care, in order for people to watch our children, they have to be background checked and fingerprinted. Not many people want to go through that intense process. It makes me so happy to see how loved my kids are by the childcare staff and never once have I second guessed leaving our kids in their care. They know all the kids’ names, allergies, behavior issues and NEVER made a big deal about any of it. They would (and still do) celebrate the good times of foster care with us and grieve with us when one of the babies they loved so dear would leave. This has allowed my husband and me to go on regular date nights. We’re able to recharge. Foster care takes a lot out of you and your marriage, so we’re thankful for a ministry that wants to help foster parents feel refreshed.
The various Parents’ Night Out events led us to try out ENCOUNTER’s Saturday night service. We fell in love with ENCOUNTER and now call it our church home.
*ENCOUNTER Foster Care Ministry hosts Parents’ Night Out events every other month for those serving as resource families in Ventura County. If you would like more information about the events, or if you would like to serve at one, please contact Clare.