"[We want to] find out how can the parish can support you, how can we support your kids, how can we integrate them better and reach out in love to them."
Daria Ongsing, a 53-year-old grandmother, and her husband Virgilio will be attending the event. This couple was approved to be foster parents in July, but they are not new to foster care.
Around five years ago, she and her husband took in the children of their daughter, who had been struggling with drug addiction and had her kids confiscated by Child Services. After two and a half years, her daughter was able to get her children back.
She told CNA that the experience awoke a desire within her to help other people through foster care. Then last February, the couple went on a pilgrimage to Cebu. Once they returned, they saw flyers on their back door for a foster care orientation at the parish.
"There were flyers in the back, for Foster ALL had come to our church to do like an orientation. I just felt in my heart again, look, God is calling us to this," she said.
After the couple was approved, the Virgilios received four siblings into their home for a few days at the beginning of August. Later that month, the family took in Bryant, who turned five in September, and Bri-Asia, who will be turning seven in December. The two siblings are still at her house and have become a source of joy, she said.
Ongsing said the process has been a struggle at times. She expressed hope to meet more Catholics at the event who may be a source of support and that it inspires other parents to take on this ministry which has a great need.
She is currently working for Kaiser Permanente as a certified ophthalmic technician, but she plans to enter into early retirement within the next few years and take on fostering full-time.
"The [fostering] need is so great. It's crazy. So my plan is to retire young in the next year or two and certainly give it even more than I can do now," she said.
"It's quite challenging, but it's very rewarding. I keep praying and asking God to just get us to do the best thing for these kids while they need us," she further added. "I'm just trying to share a little bit of our blessings."
Domingo told CNA that the Catholic Church in California has been shut out of the foster system because they will not place children with same-sex couples. She said the archdiocese's Catholic Charity has not acted as a foster care agency for nearly 20 years.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
"When Catholic Charities got out of the business of doing foster care, what happened is nobody picked it up, nobody in the Church was tasked with working on foster issues. What I've come to realize is that that is a similar story in most dioceses," she said.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles decided to ramp up its foster care efforts during the second OneLife event, after Nick Vuljicic, a motivational speaker born with no arms and no legs, encouraged the archdiocese to act "pro-life" to the unborn as well as those already born, like foster kids. Domingo said, at the time, LA County had an estimated 30,000 foster children.
Since then, Domingo has spoken to numerous parishes to booster fostering efforts. She said, although the archdiocese can no longer place kids into foster care, parishes in the area will host agencies to come talk to the laity.
Domingo said foster care is a "bridge-building topic" and supported by a variety of different people and groups. She also said good foster care is a solution to many issues in society.
"You can talk about fostering as a preventative for human trafficking, you can talk about it for keeping young adults off the streets, … you can talk about it in terms of helping birth parents, … who often get cleaned up and get prepared to accept their children back."
"What we find is that when are talking about fostering and do these kinds of events, we are bringing people from different perspectives together to say we need to do something wonderful for these children and their families."