Benzie County couple officially adopts sisters on July 15

Haley and Zach Francis, both from Lake Ann, are licensed foster parents through Child & Family Services for less than a year.

While Zach Francis admits he didn’t always know that becoming a foster parent was in his cards, Haley said that she knew it’s something she wanted to do from a young age.  

“I was born into the ‘perfect family,’”She stated this in a news statement. “And not everyone’s that lucky, so I always wanted to be able to help kids that way. And it just happened to be that Zach and I can’t have kids anyway, so we decided, why not? Let’s go for it — that must be God saying we should be fostering.” 

About a month and a half after their foster care license was approved, Zach and Haley Francis began providing respite — temporary care — for a little boy in foster care whose foster parents needed additional help watching him during the day.

“That went really well,”Zach Francis. “And then after that, we got the girls.” 

Haley Francis said the girls — Liv and Audie — “came out of the blue.” 

“We got a call about two sisters, and they wanted us to take them for the weekend,”She said.

Zach Francis said that the girls were in a “rough situation.”

“They were in a foster family and were already going through the adoption process and that kind of fell apart on them. So, for the girls’ sake, CFS needed a straight answer about whether or not we would consider adoption. And some situations are like that, where you just gotta make a decision,”He said.

However, the couple didn’t expect that things would change so quickly.

“But that first weekend, we took them to a pumpkin patch and a corn maze, and afterward we were like, ‘yeah, we can do this’,”Haley Francis spoke.

For the couple, it was just one weekend with their future daughters that made it clear that they wanted to make their daughters permanent members of their family.

According to a news report, the girls started visiting the house every weekend and began the gradual transition to a new place. The children had moved in by Christmas and the Francises were ready for a new life as a family of four. 

The Francises adopted the daughters of their husbands on July 15.

Child & Family Services celebrates its 33r year anniversary with the Brown Bag Campaign. This reminds communities about the needs of children in foster homes, as well as the ongoing need to foster parents, volunteers, and donations.

Donations can pay for things such as a stuffed animal to cuddle, counseling, school supplies and winter boots, as well as opportunities like music or dance lessons or summer camps. 

For more information about the Brown Bag Campaign, or to donate online, visit cfsnwmi.org/brownbag.

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“We’re going to continue with foster license and keep that open,”Haley Francis “And you never know, we might adopt more in the future, but for now, we really feel like we have a nice little completeness to our family.” 

Zach Francis finds the most rewarding part of teaching children.

“Whether it’s schoolwork or math or even just being kind to people. Teaching character development. It’s when you see that in action, it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m doing a good job!’”He admitted that there is more drama now with the addition of two little girls to the house, but he was open to admitting it. “really, just being with them is rewarding. Having them around, seeing them grow… we’ve seen then grow so much.” 

Haley Francis said that their family members have noticed a difference. “big change in the girls.”

“So outside people have noticed, which kinda helps me a little bit more since I don’t see it as much being there every day. It really feels like our family is starting to become complete,”She said. 

When asked about the fostering and adoption process, Zach Francis said, “Working with CFS has been great. The adoption has gone really smooth and getting licensed was really easy.”

Haley Francis stated that her husband and she have never felt pressured to accept a placement if it doesn’t feel right for them.

Visit www.231-946-8975 to find out more about becoming a foster/adoptive parent. cfsnwmi.org/foster-care.

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