Scott and Renee Welsh knew they were destined to be parents. They wanted children of their own and would discuss whether they would take after Scott or Renee. Renee even had recurring dreams of a fair-haired little girl that belonged to her.
But they tried to conceive and failed—for over a decade. That they were infertile felt unfathomable, and it became a great struggle.
“Finding out that we weren’t likely to ever become parents in the traditional way was heartbreaking, because it’s a loss, and it’s a grief,” Renee said.
As devastating as it was, Renee said they never actually doubted that they would eventually become parents.
The pair considered IVF as well, but in-vitro fertilization is expensive, risky, and takes an emotional toll as well.
“I wasn’t sure I had the heart to go there,” Renee said.
Scott had another idea, he told Renee that “there are kids out there waiting for parents, and we’re parents waiting for kids. Let’s just go find our babies.”
So they decided to attend an adoption fair, from which the couple left with an armful of papers.
“I had papers from every agency that was represented and I stayed up all night and read every word of every page,” Renee remembered. It was 2004 then, and over a decade later her voice still broke telling CBN about what she read.
“Some of the descriptions were written by the children themselves, expressing why they hoped somebody would want them,” she said.
Before dawn broke, Renee had her answer.
“I knew that we were called to foster,” she said. She woke her husband up to tell him, but Scott only said that he knew that as well, and promptly went back to sleep.
They then set out on getting certified as foster parents, and the very next day after they were approved, they got a call to place three children.
Over the next several years, they fostered over 20 children, giving them loving homes and all the while knowing they would have to give them up.
“Scott and I decided, from the very beginning that we would be willing to absorb all the pain so that a traumatized child would have a safe place to land,” Renee said. Her own faith gave her the resolve to become this safety net for these children, no matter how heartbreaking.
“Watching kids who are traumatized, watching them blossom, watching them achieve, watching them start to trust—was so worth it,” she said.
After years of doing this, the couple decided to take a vacation. But the night before they were to leave, they got a phone call about a baby girl who needed a home.
They put down everything to take her in.
Renee remembers that as they walked through the NICU, all the babies there had doting families waiting, and gifts like balloons and stuffed animals and photos. But at the end of the row, in the corner, was this little premature baby girl hooked up to machines.
As Renee held her in her arms, she thought “Where did my husband go?”
Ten minutes later, he walked in with balloons from the gift shop that read “Congratulations, it’s a girl!”
Then, baby Angelina became available for adoption. Renee and Scott had known, as soon as they heard Angelina’s story over the phone, that they wanted her—so there was no hesitation.
“Not long after the adoption, we were in the car,” Renee remembered. “And I looked at her in the rear-view mirror.”
“She had gone from being a tiny fragile baby fighting to live to being a happy, healthy, giggling, beautiful toddler,” Renee said.
Then it dawned on her.
“This is the child of my dreams,” she said. It was, literally. For years, when they were first trying to conceive, Renee had dreams of that little fair-haired girl—and she was Angelina.
The couple eventually adopted Angelina’s biological sister, and continue to try to raise awareness for fostering.
In the United States, there are over 100,000 children in the foster system—and it’s Renee’s deepest wish that there will one day not be a single child kept waiting.