Opening Their Hearts and Home: The Owensby Family

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Heather Owensby spent much of her childhood living with her grandparents, a home she describes as “a place of safety and love.”

As she grew older, Heather realized that if not for her grandparents, she more than likely would have been in the foster care system. She always knew that someday she wanted to provide a safe and loving place for children in need as her grandparents had done for her. Her husband, Matt, shared this desire and in 2018, Heather and Matt Owensby became foster parents. They currently live in Madrid, Iowa and have five biological children who are ages 14 to 22-years-old.

“There is such a tremendous need for safe, loving homes for children in need,” Heather said. “For those who are able, we have the opportunity to be a part of healing and hope in the lives of children in foster care and their families. There are so many children in need but it starts by saying yes.”

When it comes to foster care, the goal is to safely reunite children with their birth families. A foster parent’s impact goes beyond a child—they may have a chance to help an entire family move toward wholeness. The Owensby family had the opportunity to do this with the first child they cared for, a six-year-old boy who lived with them for almost four months before he went to live with his grandparents.

With the father in prison and the mother working on a plan to get her children back, the Owensby family recognized the tough road ahead that the family faced. They kept in touch with both the grandmother and mother of their foster son after he had left their care.

Their foster son’s father was recently released from prison and in need of a job. Their foster son’s mother reached out, knowing that Matt owns a construction business, asking if they would consider hiring the father to work for their business. Matt said he would hire him. Currently their former foster son’s father works for their company and alongside Matt on a daily basis and it has been a very positive experience, Heather said.

“For us this is our greatest hope in being foster parents. We know that this is not always the outcome as we’ve experienced with other foster children we’ve cared for,” Heather said. “Getting to know his parents was definitely not comfortable at first, but we had committed to doing all we could to let them know that we were for them and not against them.”

Heather said that they are grateful for the opportunity to continue to be a part of their former foster son’s family and stay connected to him.

“We know that the work of foster parents is hard work, but we have come to believe that anything good worth doing is oftentimes hard. But with the hard comes some of the greatest joys,” Heather said. “Learning to love children and families in need without holding back does not always come easy, but it is totally worth it.”