Little Girl with DogEmma came into care at just three-years-old. Her parents were unable to provide a safe home for her, and she was removed from the home for both environmental neglect, as well as domestic violence. Because of severe allergies, both food and environmental, Emma was considered medically complex, and needed constant monitoring to ensure her health. She was placed with relatives, but with such significant medical issues to attend to, the relatives were unable to care for her, and she was moved to a foster home with a family who could address her needs.

The foster parents, Sarah and John, had two grown children of their own, and had become foster parents with the hopes of providing a safe home and sense of family to kids who needed it. Sarah and John understood the severity of Emma’s condition, and took the proper precautions to avoid her allergens. One of the ways they were able to monitor her food intake was by preparing all of her meals from scratch, including using fruits and vegetables grown in their own garden. As she got older, and with a strictly followed diet, Emma began to grow out of many of her allergies and continued to thrive in her foster home. She worked with a therapist to address some of her behaviors and worked hard to do well in school. She also began participating in 4H, church camp, and raising animals on the family farm.

When Sarah and John learned that Emma would not be returning home, they started the adoption process to become her forever family and the adoption was finalized over the summer, just after Emma’s 10th birthday.

Both foster care and adoption staff who worked with the family refer to John and Sarah as one of the most selfless, caring, and wonderful foster families they’ve worked with. “The family’s garden and emphasis on an active, healthy lifestyle has contributed to Emma’s overall health,” said CYFS Family Worker Courtney K. “She is getting the nutrition she needs and enjoying the outdoors, and that’s really helping her to flourish in this family.”

*names have been changed

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