Meet Anna*, a kind, funny, smart 5-year-old child with an infectious smile who’s in kindergarten at the local public school. What Anna does not know is that she is the talk of the front office. The payroll staff, parent coordinator, and administrative assistants all gush over her and that smile. Jackie is one of those administrative assistants. She started helping at the school when her three children were young by volunteering with the PTA. As her own children got older, she committed more and more time to the school. It got to the point where the principal ended up hiring her as an administrative assistant. In the ten years that she has “officially” worked at the school, she has seen all three of her children attend college and is proudly watching them settle into adulthood.
One of Jackie’s responsibilities at the school is to help with bus drop-off every morning. Because of Anna, this job quickly became the best part of Jackie’s day. On the first day of school, Anna walked right up to Jackie, said “Hi, I’m Anna,” and put her little hand out to shake. Jackie could not help but smile, and from that day on they had a morning routine. Anna’s kindness and sweetness were what truly stood out to Jackie. Occasionally, she would give Jackie a picture she drew or an art project she put together. In turn, Jackie would slip her a sticker or trinket every once in a while.
It was during the winter that Jackie began noticing a change. During their “morning routine,” she began seeing Anna become more and more reserved. Then, their “morning routine” became more and more infrequent. Jackie did her best to cheer Anna up and even went out of the way to seek her out. A few weeks later, Anna arrived at school on a different bus. While unusual, Jackie figured that maybe Anna’s parents moved … or something. These things happen. A few days later, Jackie was tending the front desk when a social services caseworker came into the office and asked to speak to the guidance counselor. Before she called the guidance counselor, she asked what child this was in reference to. It was at that moment that Jackie learned that Anna was in foster care. It was also at that moment that Jackie knew she needed to help.
These types of “in the moment” decisions are made by the families we serve every day. Jackie would eventually become a Foster Parent for Anna and her little brother, something we know as Kinship Foster Care. As Kinship Foster Parents, Jackie and her family would learn that while the decision of being there for Anna and her family might have been an easy one to make, the “Foster Care System” itself is not so easy. Between the trainings, licensing regulations, visitations, medical appointments, and court, Jackie and her family undertook this commitment to Anna without regard to what it meant to their household. Like all our Foster Families, their sole worry and commitment is the child and their family.
After a year and a half of living with Jackie and her family, Anna and her little brother are back with their mother and father, and “Aunt” Jackie and Anna are back to their morning routines.
This campaign is for them.
Help Kinship Foster Care families like Jackie’s and Anna’s