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Inspiring Conversations with Sandra Hogue of OneFamily


Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Hogue.
 

Hi Sandra, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
Stephen and I always wanted to start a family, but after struggling with infertility for 7 years, we knew we would need to move adoption to the forefront of our plans. We began the journey by becoming licensed foster parents and taking in foster children. That’s when we realized how broken the foster care system was and how many children needed loving, stable families. 

We became licensed foster parents in 2005 and in 2009, we opened a resource closet with free clothing, baby items, furniture, etc. But it wasn’t enough. We needed something that would help foster families stay in it for the long haul. They needed more than resources. They needed support. In 2013, my husband left a very secure job and ventured out into the unknown, and started a nonprofit organization, Hogue Ministries, Inc., doing business as One Family. By this time, we personally had adopted eight children. 

Fifty percent of foster families quit fostering after one year, due to the lack of support. The nonprofit helps connect local churches and community partners to help foster children and those who care for them. We train churches to answer real-time needs in the foster care community, as well as, provide wrap-around training, which increases retention among foster parents. Because when the family flourishes, the community flourishes. 

And by 2017, we had fostered 18 children and adopted a total of ten. We continue to work to bridge the gap between the faith community, child welfare, and businesses to care for the vulnerable, at-risk children and families, including biological families, foster and adoptive families, and relative caregivers. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, infertility was hard on our marriage. Lots of disappointments. Fostering gave us a sense of fulfillment for our desire to parent. Out of the 18 foster children, we were able to experience ten family reunifications (kids going back to their biological families) and eight adoptions through foster care. We adopted two more through private adoption. 

When we started the nonprofit, we started as ‘missionaries’, raising our own financial support. Raising our support with such a big family made it challenging. And because we were raising our own support and started a nonprofit, we had to be conservative with spending and couldn’t afford health insurance for Stephen and me. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about One Family?
We train the Church to raise up and support families. Our goal is for every child or sibling group to find a temporary home through foster care or a forever home through adoption. 

Foster Families 

Our local foster care agency is currently 75 foster homes short of what they need. Our goal is to see families waiting for children not children waiting for families.

Community Success 

When the family flourishes, the community flourishes. Our goal is to see the power of community, the unity of churches, and businesses to come together to support efforts to help foster children and the families who care for them. 

What would you say has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that the churches as a whole don’t know about foster care, why kids go into the system, and how they can be a part of the solution via support, encouragement, and tangible help. I’ve learned that the community, including businesses, as a whole doesn’t understand foster care or how they can help with finances, resources, etc. Awareness, education, and resources/tools allow all involved to understand the problem and be a solution. 

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Image Credits
Meagan Scharmahorn

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