In March 2019, Susan and Mitchell Patterson* became approved as resource parents. The couple didn't have any children and their hope was to foster and adopt one child or a sibling set of two, up to the age of six. Less than two weeks after being approved, the couple ended up saying yes to 14-year-old Margaret*. Their Koinonia Social Worker had spent two months working with Margaret in her emergency foster home and knew that the Patterson family would be a good fit for her. The Patterson family agreed! Upon her initial placement, Margaret struggled with thoughts of suicide and running away. Despite these early concerns, Margaret quickly adapted to life in a healthy and healing home environment. One year later, Margaret is near being able to reunify with her mother. Margaret recently shared with the foster mother, “When I came here, I didn’t care about myself, but now I totally care.”
Just a few months after Margaret came into their home, the Patterson family and their Koinonia Social Worker decided that they could make their home available for more placements. The family spent a few months caring for a one-year-old until he successfully placed with his grandparents. Though many months have passed, the Patterson family continues to provide babysitting support for the grandparents as the need arises.
Over the last eight months, the Patterson's have served six other foster children and their families. Sometimes the children only stay a few days or a month while others have been long term placements. Their three most recent foster children have come during the COVID-19 crisis which has placed their family at risk of exposure multiple times. Despite these risks and the heartache they feel when saying good-bye to each child, they continue to say "yes" because where else would these children go? Though there are less children being placed into foster care during the current shelter-in-place order, there are also less resource families available and many are unable to place their own families at risk of exposure for one reason or another. The Patterson family recognizes the need to care for these precious children, regardless of age, ethnicity or gender, and regardless of how long they stay. They are committed to providing a safe and loving family for children in one of the toughest seasons in their life.
*Names in this article were changed to protect the identity of both the foster parents and the children mentioned.