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DockATot Stories: Meet the Brenners, an Amazing Family Providing Foster Care

Dockatot baby lounger
(Photo courtesy of The Brenner Bunch)
Providing foster care to babies in need takes a very special type of person. Meet Taylor and JJ Brenner, who have devoted themselves to caring for babies who need a family to love them during a pivotal time in their tiny lives. The Brenners, who share their story on their blog The Brenner Bunch, use DockATot as a way to comfort and care for these little ones. "We love the reasoning behind the name DockATot, which refers to creating a safe harbor for babies as they sleep. This analogy means a lot to us because we feel that in many ways we are doing the same thing as foster parents: creating a safe and secure place for babies to grow and thrive," says Taylor Brenner. Read below for more about the Brenners and their incredible story. 

 

Dockatot baby lounger

(Photo courtesy of The Brenner Bunch)

Please share a little background about your family and why having kids was so important to you.
We were both drawn to the idea of adoption, and knew that this would also be a part of our family’s story at some point. My husband and I have been married for three years now and we both agreed in the early stages of our relationship that becoming parents would be a dream come true. We wasted no time in beginning our family. As newlyweds the furthest thing from our mind was infertility, and miscarriages. We decided that since we couldn’t have our own babies at this time, that maybe God wanted us to help other children in need.

Dockatot baby lounger
(Photo courtesy of The Brenner Bunch)

What led you to the decision to foster children?
Fostering and adoption has always been something we had talked about and as a special education teacher many of my students were in the foster care system. My daily interactions with them allowed us to see the need for foster and adoptive families. Being foster parents allows us opportunity to help families in need and provide a permanent home for children should the need arise.

Is there a difference between adoption and fostering? Please explain.
Traditionally adoption is done through an agency that matches birthmothers or orphans with families that are desirous of adopting children. The purpose of foster care is to create a safe, loving, and often times, temporary environment where broken families can begin to be made whole again. Foster families are found within the same state, city, and community of the biological family. The ultimate goal for most foster children is reunification with their families. As foster parents, we are to be a support system for the biological families while they address the issues they are facing. That being said, no case is ever the same. We have had two amazingly wonderful babes go back to their families. It was a perfect example of the redemptive power of foster care. We are in the middle of a situation with our current foster child where there are additional challenges and reunification may not be possible. Being a foster parent places you in a strange position at times. On one hand you are rooting for restoration of the family, but there are cases where the brokenness is so severe that you have to step up and fight for the child’s safety, childhood, and ultimately their future. We have built relationships and stay involved in the lives of the sweet babies that have come through our home. Staying in contact with those families has been a great honor and we were very happy to help them overcome challenges and rebuild their family. Our hope is to someday adopt through foster care.

Dockatot baby lounger

(Photo courtesy of The Brenner Bunch)

What are some of the most important aspects of welcoming a foster baby into your life?
First and foremost, you have to be flexible! Since we have no children of our own, our first foster daughter made us overnight parents. Often times you are not told how old the  child is, their gender, or their background. You get a knock on the door, a DCS worker hands you a baby, who is generally very dirty and very hungry and you have to go from there. The job of a foster parent is to help when and where there is a need. This means being prepared for anything. You rarely know all the details of a child’s background, so you must be ready to tackle whatever comes your way! With that in mind, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. Doing your homework and learning as much as you can about common conditions of foster children will go a long way. There are many resources available through foster agencies or the state. Making sure you have a strong support system or community to help you is very important. We lean on our agency to help us navigate some of the twists and turns that are part of our journey. So far, we have had 3 sweet babies in 5 months and it’s a new adventure every day.

Dockatot baby lounger

(Photo courtesy of The Brenner Bunch)

How has DockATot made the transition for your babies easier?
Before we started welcoming these sweet babes into our home we purchased a Deluxe DockATot. It was honestly the best purchase we could have made. Our first foster baby was drug exposed and she slept in the DockAtot for 17 hours a day as she went through withdrawals. It gave me peace of mind because I knew she was safe. Our current foster daughter won’t sleep in anything else!

What do you love about DockATot and why would you recommend it to other foster or adoptive parents?
Many children in foster care have suffered some form of trauma. This can take a lot of forms and very commonly makes it hard for children to sleep. Since we have opened our home to drug exposed babies we made sure to do a lot of research on what we would need to help them most. We learned that the best way to help children sleep is to provide them with a consistent, safe and comfortable environment. DockATots have provided exactly that for our babies! The DockATot gives our babies the same sleeping experience whether we are home or on the road. They are easy to move and can be used almost anywhere. We’ve used them just about everywhere: in cribs, a pack and play, and even a portable bassinet! As any new parent understands, sleep is a precious thing! As foster parents, having a consistent sleeping environment for our children has made a world of difference. Our home was a foreign place, full of new sights, sounds, and smells to each of our foster babies and DockATot helped to make that transition a positive one.

Dockatot baby lounger

Tell us about your blog The Brenner Bunch
My blog is the place where I tell our stories. Where I share the wonder and heartbreak of being foster parents. It's the story of us, doing our best to love these babies like crazy, and sharing the little bits of life in between. As foster parents we have to frame things from a temporary perspective and that makes our blog a little different from the rest.


Find out more about why moms all over the country love their DockATot. Read reviews here.

3 Responses

Courtney
Courtney

April 22, 2017

Thanks for share info your story! I have an extremely similar one! My husband and I have struggled sign infertility and are becoming foster parents! My husband is a special education teacher and I teach preschool! Like I said very similar stories! Blessings!!

Terri
Terri

March 22, 2017

About the Brenner Bunch.
You are amazing people. God Bless You and the children you are helping. Because of you I am ordering one for my 6 week old grandson right now. Blessings to you all

Rebecca
Rebecca

March 20, 2017

I was just licensed to provide foster care for infants a few weeks ago! We have our first newborn and hope to invest in Dockatot as a soothing sleep space for our babies :)

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