Becoming a foster parent

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ten years ago the lives of Belinda and Michael Branson changed forever.

"It was in 2003 when we got our license and we got our first call about three weeks after we got our license," said Belinda Branson.

This license was unlike any other.

It set Belinda and Michael on the road to parenthood.

"You're just on the list if the child comes into custody," said Belinda.

"They can give you a call any time of day and ask you if you are interested in taking a child."

But the road they choose to parenthood wasn't always easy, it came with its fare share of struggles.

"You have to be there and show them that you love them no matter what," said Belinda.

"So many children when they come into foster care they're broken," added Sandy Kennedy the Foster Care and Adoption Program Manager in Lincoln County.

You see Belinda and Michael became parents through fostering.

"I knew that there were children out there that needed loving homes," said Belinda.

"It was a long process before the adoption took place but I would do it a million times over again."

But even with the hurdles the Branson's in fact fostered again.

"When we got our second foster child my wife called me and said well it's a girl and she's been our girl ever since," said Michael.

There is always a need for foster parents like the Branson's.

"Currently Lincoln county has 66 children in custody," said Kennedy.

The Department of Social Services is looking for those who feel called to make a difference in the life of a child.

"It takes a very special person to foster a child through that time in their life," said Kennedy.

It just takes commitment and love like the one Belinda and Michael hope to give once again.

"We'd like to adopt one more before we get too old," said Belinda.

Foster parents receive a monthly stipend to help offset the costs of adding a child to their household.

For information on how to become a licensed foster parent contact your local department of social services. Click here for more information.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.