Foster parenting a matter of heart and faith for Arnetts

Chris and Heather Arnett, who partnered with Sunrise in early 2015, are currently fostering five children thanks to the help of people like you. Sunrise has placed several large sibling groups with the Arnetts over the past two years. They’ve been rewarding and spiritually fulfilling experiences, but Chris and Heather have come to understand that foster children may return to their biological parents, or move on to another foster placement.

That’s why Chris and Heather sympathize when people say they’re afraid that foster parenting will leave them heartbroken. Chris has a simple and comforting answer.

“The people who worry about heartbreak are the ones who are the most qualified to be foster parents,” he explained. “We believe you’re qualified if you think you’ll get too attached.”

One look around the Arnetts’ busy household at dinnertime tells you they don’t have time to worry about pain and separation.  They’re far too busy with the five children in their care.

Young Shawn, who just turned 2, sat contentedly in his diaper, looking up with a smile turned orange from spaghetti sauce.

Riordan, 8, barreled into the kitchen and excitedly rattled off the events from his day at school.  In one breath, he covered everything from a history test and permission slips for a field trip, to a new friend he made during a game of kickball.

Twelve-year-old Cameron passed through the kitchen, sampling the spaghetti sauce Heather was preparing for the evening meal.

Two other children worked on homework assignments in other parts of the Arnetts’ cozy, split-level Central Kentucky home.

Through it all, Chris and Heather responded patiently, engaging with each child in turn, fully in tune with each one’s personality and need for attention. It was clear the Arnetts understand that foster children often end up in another care environment. It was equally clear that doesn’t matter to them.

“We’re trying to do the right thing and remember that these kids come from a broken family,” Heather said. “I don’t think of them as foster kids; they’re my kids.”


Written by Chris Jones, Associate Director of Communications.

Jake Pelfrey