The 42-year-old Fairfax resident was recently named the Fairfax County Foster Parent of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Tell me about your foster children.
I have a little girl [Jailene]. She came to me brand-new out of the [neonatal intensive care unit]. She was 5 pounds. ... She is my first [foster child].
What drove you to foster?
I'm single and professional, and I just want to be a mom. I haven't found the right guy, and I just finally decided I can't wait anymore for the right guy.
How did you end up with Jailene?
I decided to do foster care about six or eight months before [Jailene came]. It was an emergency placement. Her mother had just gotten diagnosed with stage-four cancer and didn't have anyone to take care of the baby.
Were you ready?
No. They walked in the door with this teeny tiny, premature baby, put her in my arms, had me sign two pieces of paper, left me with a bag of diapers and a can of formula and walked out the door. With my free hand, [I] was texting my friends saying, "Help." Within an hour, there were five girls here with everything they could come up with to help me at least get through the next 24 hours.
How does foster care work?
The whole idea is to try to get the child back home or with a family member. Our main goal is for this mom to get better and the baby to go home. If not, I'm definitely willing to adopt her.
The mom has two other children, a 3-year-old and a 10-year-old. She didn't need me to take them, but I've become a huge part of their life. They've become part of my family.
- Rachel Baye