Carol Marnell is a KVC team member who supports our foster families. She has also been a foster parent herself and has adopted five youth over the last 10 years. She submitted this story as part of KVC’s Annual Story Contest to share the joy and life-changing difference fostering and adopting has made in her life.
My husband and I have been associated with KVC for 10 years. We started as a foster/adoptive family. Though it wasn’t our intent to adopt… we did! We felt that the biggest blessing a couple can share is the amazing journey of parenting children together. Our beautiful baby girls were first, ages two and three. Never in a million years did we think we would adopt teens, but that was soon to change in what I describe as a “God thing.”
After adopting our young ones, we came across a sibling group who needed a home: two boys ages 13 and 12 and their 10-year-old sister. They piqued our interest but we weren’t sure why; there was something about them that just drew us to them. By coincidence, it turned out that the case manager for the siblings was the same case manager we had been working with. We contacted the case manager, and my husband and I continued to discuss if this was something we should move forward with.
A couple of days later Denise Johnson, who supported us in our fostering and adopting journey, called me and said, “I know you guys do not normally take placement of older kiddos, but I just want you to take a look at these kids.” We were shocked they were the same kids! We knew we were being called to care for these youth.
We moved forward with fostering them long-term. They had endured a tremendous amount of trauma, and we approached parenting from a trauma-informed position. We worked hard with them on coping skills and other areas to improve their resilience.
Trust was a major hurdle we had to overcome. Getting adopted had fallen through before for them, and they felt it was never going to come to fruition. Even when the opportunity to adopt them became a possibility, the oldest did not believe it was going to happen. Then, the day came where we were able to make it official in a courthouse.
It wasn’t until we walked out of court with all five of our children legally having our last name that it finally started to sink in for him.
Fast forward several years. Our “big three” are grown and living their adult lives. The oldest is earning a degree in criminal justice at Southern Missouri State. His brother is working successfully as a bridge-builder and doing very well, and their sister is about to start her pre-med degree at the University of Kansas. Our younger daughters are 11 and 13 and are AMAZING young ladies.
I question if this would have happened had it not been for Denise Johnson. She treated us like we were her family. She advocated for us at every turn. Denise became a part of our family. We knew with no doubt she would have our back 100% of the time.
I’ve been working for KVC for five years now supporting foster families. In my opinion, these are the best groups of families in the world. I love to watch families grow and find true love, even if it was not the direction they thought it would go. Thank you, KVC, for our beautiful family and for allowing me to have the most awesome job ever!
Nearly 7,000 Kansas children and teens need loving homes. If you’d like to change a child’s life as well as your own, click here to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent.