Alice and Mark Suroviec always knew they wanted to become foster parents, but they never could have imagined what the journey would look like as they opened up their home to one child after another.
Before they were married, Alice and Mark volunteered for a ministry called Youth for Christ, and at the time, its focus was on foster care in their local county. This experience is what first sparked their interest in fostering.
“We knew that one biological child was going to be appropriate for us, and then we would like to leave space in our home to include these foster children that would otherwise have no other place to go,” says Alice.
When the Suroviec’s biological daughter was two years old, they decided they were ready to pursue their dreams of fostering with the hopes of adopting. Around that time, Mark – who works for WinShape Teams – coincidently received an email saying WinShape was starting its own foster care program.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! Alice and Mark immediately jumped at the opportunity to foster through WinShape Homes.
“One of the reasons we chose WinShape was we knew they would do it well,” says Mark.
“We knew it was a challenge; it was going to be hard, and we wanted that extra support, and we knew WinShape could offer that.”
While Alice and Mark’s main intention for fostering was to eventually adopt, they knew they had to be open to other possibilities too.
The First Placement
When they received their first placement, Alice and Mark were told that it would not likely be permanent. Regardless of how long she was staying, they immediately embraced her as one of their daughters.
“Whoever was in our home was our child,” says Mark.
Eventually one of the child’s family members claimed custody, and Alice and Mark had to say goodbye – a process they considered both sad and joyous. Even though they were aware of the situation beforehand and had anticipated reunification to happen, it was still painful to see her go.
The Second Placement
The next placement was much the opposite.
This time, Alice and Mark were told it would probably be a permanent situation. With much excitement, they welcomed their second daughter into their home and made plans for a future together.
Months later, that dream was shattered when the State was able to find a biological family member for the child to live with – news that shocked everyone, including the caseworkers.
Although it was difficult to come to terms with at first, Alice says it worked out perfectly. She and Mark stay connected to the child’s biological father throughout the year, and they receive pictures of her during the holidays.
“It’s been good to be able to see her grow up — hard, but good,” says Alice.
The Forever Placement
Next came Lucy, Alice and Mark’s most recent placement.
The process was much more straightforward this time; they knew from the start it was probably going to lead to adoption.
As Alice and Mark processed the excitement of a permanent placement, they were also still healing from their past experiences, guarding their hearts, and struggling to accept that this child could be theirs…forever.
One of the most difficult parts of the foster care journey for Alice has been trying to figure out how to love the children where they are, love their parents for who they are, and understand that God is in control of the whole thing.
“God has taught me that the world is very broken,” says Alice.
“The kids who come to foster care need love more than anybody else.”
The day finally came for Alice and Mark to adopt Lucy, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the process had to be completed virtually. Having the adoption conducted over a Zoom call didn’t seem ideal at first, but it allowed Alice and Mark to invite friends and family from all over the world to be part of their celebration, which made the occasion even more special.
“At the end of the day, this wasn’t our idea; this was Jesus’ idea,” says Mark. “He loves kids…He wants them to have a home and a family and a purpose. So don’t praise us, praise Him.”
During each step of the Suroviec’s adoption journey, WinShape was there with Alice and Mark — celebrating their wins and mourning their losses.
When reflecting on his experience with WinShape, Mark says there were “so many benefits and so much care and love…I’m so thankful for them.”