When Karly and Andy Searl learned of twin boys in the NICU at a nearby hospital in desperate need of a home, they didn’t hesitate to help. It’s a call the couple had been waiting for since they struggled with infertility and received their foster care license.
“When we got to the hospital, I cried. There were these two tiny babies that just needed someone to take care of them,” said Karly Searl.
Karly slept on the floor between two bassinets the first night home, keeping a close eye on the newborn bundles- just as any doting parent would do. At the time, Karly and Andy didn’t know how long the boys would stay in their care.
“We didn’t know if it would be days or weeks. We were first told they had extended family to take them, but that ended up not happening,” said Karly.
Over the course of a year and a half, Karly and Andy loved the boys as they were their own. Then, on Valentine’s Day 2020, Karly, Andy, and the boys officially became a family of 4.
“It was so surreal; it was wonderful and so great. It was a big celebration. We hired a professional photographer. There were lots of tears,” said Karly.
There are up to 700 kids in the foster care system in Spokane County at any given time. Across Washington, more than 8,000 kids are in foster care. And, there aren’t enough licensed foster homes for every child. That’s why Karly is sharing her story.
“There is such a need in our community. Everyone should be a foster family; it’s so rewarding. Even if you can’t be a foster family, there’s so much you can do to support foster parents, “said Karly.
Karly is thankful for Embrace Washington, a non-profit dedicated to supporting foster kids and families, and A Child’s Hope, a Spokane-based non-profit adoption organization, for the enduring love and support they received during the entire foster and adoption process.
“They helped not only on a formal level but on an emotional level. They offer so much support for families. It also gave us a place to connect with other families going through what we were going through,” said Karly.
The twins are now 2.5 years old and full of energy. In December, they were both diagnosed with autism. The pair spend hours a day in therapy, working on their motor skills, speech, and how to process their emotions.
“With one of the boys, we kind of knew he might have autism. With the second, I was speechless. We were surprised and caught off guard,” said Karly.
To help process the diagnoses, Karly and Andy reached out to The ISAAC Foundation, a local non-profit providing support, education, and all the tools necessary to help kids with autism and their families.
With their help, Karly is confident her boys will have a bright future.
“All of these non-profits need extra support right now; we could not be where we are if it wasn’t for them,” said Karly.