When Ashley and Jared Walding decided they wanted to become parents, they knew the foster-to-adopt route would be the best way for them to grow their family. Both Ashley and Jared work in the education field, specializing in behavior analysis and assisting children with special needs. In their profession, the Waldings often see children without supportive families and are all too aware of how much they struggle; this compelled the Waldings to open their home to children in foster care who were in need of a forever family. After learning about DePaul through some of Jared’s former students who received services, the Waldings became an approved DePaul foster home in 2014.
Ashley and Jared’s professional background has been helpful to them on this journey as their careers are focused on understanding behavior at its core. But outside of their education and experience, the Waldings are nurturing, committed parents who go above and beyond to support the children in their care. “Their commitment is second to none,” said DePaul Regional Recruiter Chris Tompkins. “I’ve never seen a family go as far as they do to advocate for children and make their placement work.”
“We decided we’re going to make this happen and took ownership of advocating for them. You have to be that person for them. If it’s something we feel is right, we go down that path every time.” – Ashley Walding
In March 2017, the Waldings welcomed a sibling set of two brothers into their care. Ashley admits that at the time the boys came to them, the boys had no one in their corner: “We decided we’re going to make this happen and took ownership of advocating for them. You have to be that person for them. If it’s something we feel is right, we go down that path every time.” The Waldings’ dedication and persistence have paid off as the two boys have flourished in their home, and the family is now in the process of adopting both boys.
Ashley and Jared credit their ability to provide excellent care to their children to the family, friends, and service providers who stand behind them, and they encourage other foster parents to have a good support system in place. “It’s OK to ask for help,” Jared said. “We thought we could do this solidly because of the line of work we are in—but we were wrong. It’s important to have people around you who will listen and be supportive. We cannot do this alone.”
Read related: Become a Foster Parent