My name is MK Hill. I’m a 29 year old single foster and adoptive mom living in Memphis, TN. I began my foster care journey 4 years ago after returning home from a year of living and working abroad in 11 different countries. Before that trip I had traveled to Guatemala over 20 times and even thought I would move there one day to work in a children’s home long term. I have always longed to open my home to vulnerable children and after encountering one woman in Memphis, my life was forever changed.
Upon my return home, I met a homeless single mother who was 23 and had 6 kids under the age of 6. This mother had aged out of the foster system after being in 9+ homes. Through getting to know this family and investing in them, I realized the huge needs right here in my own city that I had never seen before. I began looking for ways that I could get involved right here. I currently have 4 kids in my care ages 5, 3, 17 months, and 15 months, and an 18 year old, with a 2 year old son, who recently aged out and still comes around almost daily as part of our family. I have had 23 children total in and out of my home in the past 3 years from ages 9 weeks-18 years, plus about 45 neighborhood kids who hang out in the backyard daily at my nonprofit outreach center. It’s amazing how your heart can continue to stretch and love each child that comes across your path.
I recently finalized my first adoption of my 3 year old son, who was my very first placement, and who happens to be Guatemalan! He has been with me since he was six months old. It is an incredible winding trail of events that all tied together with this miracle boy. I am over the moon!
I get a lot of questions about being a single foster mom like; “What is hard about it?”, “Can you date?”, “Do you have support?”, and “How do you manage daily life?” My answers are yes, yes, yes, and yes! Yes it is hard. Yes you can date if you want to make that a priority. Yes I have incredible support, and yes you can manage daily life… but don’t forget YES it is hard. But SO worth it! I have met so many amazing single foster moms in the past few years and it really is my most favorite circle of people. I went to a single foster moms retreat a few months ago and the connection and understanding was so refreshing! There are facebook groups, local foster support groups, foster/adopt moms coffee nights, and more. It is much needed and fills my heart seeing my newsfeeds full of all of my foster and adoptive friend’s families throughout the day! I would definitely encourage single people to foster and not let the fear of doing it without a spouse hold you back. There is so much support out there and I’m happy to help connect people in any way that I can.
Through my foster care adventures and my neighborhood nonprofit, I have friends and family serving and loving on us almost every single day. From yard clean up, delivering meals, babysitting, doing hair, to just coming over and hanging out with us. There are always people willing to jump in and help. I create amazon wish lists every few months and people love to choose an item and send it straight to our doorstep… and the kids of course love opening packages!
I would say the biggest piece of advice I have to give those who are starting the process is: Do some serious heart work on your own expectations. Jumping into these families’ lives can be shocking and hard and often times feel impossible. Sometimes working with case workers and attorneys and having people in and out of your home can be exhausting. Sometimes court cases will be delayed months or years over one piece of paper. Sometimes you will get blamed for things that are beyond your control, and people will assume the complete opposite of why you signed up for this. KEEP GOING. Remind yourself daily to keep your expectations non-existent, not just low. When I was on my year long mission trip this was one of the biggest things that the leadership stressed to us, expectations can ruin any situation. Ditch them. If you can go with the flow and expect the unexpected, you will get farther and breathe deeper. You will be a part of healing in these tragic stories no matter how long you are on the front lines beside them. Keeping expectations low does not mean I am encouraging passivity. My Mama Bear will come out quick any time I need to stand up and advocate for my babies. There is always a balancing act of keeping in mind that I am not in control, while making sure that any necessary fights are being fought. This is the good fight, and it is worth it!
Follow MK’s foster journey on Instagram here!