My name is Emily LeRoy, and I’ve always loved to run. I’ve been running since I started middle school and it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Recently my husband and I discovered a new passion: fostering children who need love and support.
Two years ago, we decided we wanted to become foster parents. At that time, we had two children of our own and we wanted a third but we were having some trouble getting pregnant. We looked into fostering children, but then, to our surprise, we found out I was pregnant with our now two-year-old son. We put fostering on hold but continued to feel the call to be foster parents. In October of last year, we decided that we wanted to go through with becoming foster parents.
In January, just three days after we became licensed foster parents, we were privileged to have three boys placed with us. We thought we were ready, we told the kids what to expect and our three children were excited to meet their new brothers, but when the boys arrived, it took some time for them to adjust to their new environment.
The boys were ages seven, four and one. Of course, the one-year-old adjusted just fine to our home, but the seven- and four-year-olds took a little longer. It took time to learn how to trust us and we were patient with them- giving them all the love and security they needed. After about two and a half months, we felt that all three boys settled into our home.
After about seven months of living with us, the three boys went back home to their mother. It was one of the most bittersweet day of my life because those boys had become part of our family. My husband and I treated them as our own, our children played together like brothers and sisters and we loved them. It was extremely sad to see them go, but we were happy they were going back home to their mother and we felt so blessed with the months we were given. Now here we are again, taking up the call to foster another child in need. Quite recently another seven-year-old boy came to live with us and we’re nurturing and teaching him the same values we teach our own children.
I mentioned that I’m an avid runner and so I wanted to introduce running into the lives of not only the three boys who came to live with us, but also to my children. I believe running, and all exercise for that matter, is very important to maintaining a healthy life and I want the kids to see that in action. I realize as their mother and foster mom, I’m a role model and I want to set a positive example.
I make time to run several times a week. Many times, when I’m training, I will go to the YMCA, so the kids can play while I run on the treadmill. About once a week, I’ll take two hours and do a long-distance run, since I’m training for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction this September.
Unfortunately, the first three foster boys will not be able to see me run in a race, but they were there to encourage me while I was training, and I felt like I was able to educate them about the health benefits of running. They would ask me lots of questions and it was nice to see they were interested in running.
I encourage all parents to set a good example for their children through physical activity. You want to be healthy for them as long as possible and teach them about achieving their own goals. I’m choosing to run the Community First Fox Cities Marathon for a second time, this year and I can’t wait to celebrate with my whole family, foster children and all, as I cross the finish line.