Love to Spare

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Julie Haas wanted a different kind of childcare for her children. "Kids need to be respected for the little humans they are," she said. When Julie wasn't able to find a place where love and acceptance were chiefly important, she created one. For more than 20 years, Julie and her husband, Brian, have run a childcare center out of their home.

"We’ve become comfortable with chaos,” said Julie. “My hope is that each child who comes into my home is set to become a wonderful, caring person.”

When she heard about the opportunity to serve as foster parents for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Julie jumped at the chance. “I’m known as Momma Haas,” she said. “My door is always open to people looking for support and extra love.”

As Treatment Foster Care providers, Julie and Brian work with kids who have identified needs from attention deficit disorder, autism, and other developmental disabilities. They also take in children whose parents face challenges with mental health and chemical dependency.

“We weren’t sure what we had gotten ourselves into,” Julie said of the first experience with a young boy diagnosed with mental and emotional health concerns. “Underneath all of his clinical labels was a boy who desperately wanted to be understood, respected and loved.”

Together with experienced therapists, Julie and Brian worked with the young boy to regain his emotional stability and equip his parents with the knowledge and understanding they needed to rebuild a relationship with their son.

Shortly after the boy returned home, they had the opportunity to help a young mother with severe mental health challenges who was having trouble adjusting to motherhood.

“We gladly opened our door to both mom and baby,” Julie shared. She worked closely with the new mom but the mother’s needs were too great. The young woman transitioned to a care facility while her baby stayed with Julie.

“I fell in love with little Emily,” she said. “Along the way, she wasn’t just a temporary placement, she was ours.”

The courts agreed, and Emily was adopted into the family last April. “We’re starting over,” said Julie, who has a grandson nearly the same age as her new daughter. “Sometimes people don’t understand why we made this choice, but Emily chose us.”

Including Emily, Brian and Julie have welcomed six foster children into their home over the past five years. “No two children will ever be the same,” Brian said. “Every child needs to know they are loved and worthy of a safe home.”