Couple adopts four foster siblings
Louisville—Sam and Stephanie Patterson’s 13-year pursuit of parenthood was finally realized last Thursday when the Louisville couple welcomed, not one, but four foster siblings into their family.
“It feels like the greatest Christmas present we could have ever received,” said Stephanie, music associate at Little Flock Baptist Church in Shepherdsville.
With the flourish of a judge’s pen, Carrie, 11, Carissa, 7, Austin, 4, and Kali, 2, were legally folded into the Patterson clan. They were surrounded at the adoption proceeding by new uncles, grandmas and cousins.
On Sunday, members of Little Flock Baptist Church gathered to continue the celebration and pray for the family they have supported since the children were placed with the Patterson’s on Oct. 15, 2013.
“We couldn’t have gone through this past year without a lot of help from our church, our family and friends,” said Sam.
The journey to parenthood was a rocky one for the couple. Stephanie said she and her husband struggled through the highs and lows of infertility for a decade before considering adoption. Feeling God’s urgent pull toward giving older children a home, the Patterson’s said they took the “fast track” approach to foster training.
Most recent statistics by the Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services cite that more than 7,700 children are in the care of the state. Of that number, about 3,000 children live in foster homes and only 2.3 percent of those children are living with families who intend to adopt.
“We told the social worker, ‘Two kids, that’s it,'” Stephanie recalled. “Then they showed us the picture.”
Sitting in front of a quaint, two-dimensional Christmas scene were four siblings dressed in red and green pajamas. Their angelic faces instantly captured the couple’s hearts and imaginations.
“I would just sit and stare at it,” Stephanie said, “They were the most beautiful children I had ever seen. Who would neglect these children?”
Yet, parental neglect was the reason the children were in foster care.
Within days of formalizing their status as foster parents, Sam and Stephanie were introduced to the four siblings—each at their own stage of development and understanding of what was going on around them.
Then, one-year-old Kali and Austin, 3, were very much babies. The older girls, however, were fully aware that this was the third home they would have lived in as many years.
“I can’t imagine the heartbreak,” Stephanie said, of knowing their birth parents had abandoned them. “All we could say was, ‘We’re so glad you are here in our home,’ and ‘we’re going to take care of you.'”
The couple said they have consciously encouraged Carrie to let the adults in the house care for her younger sisters and brother and give up the mantle of being the “little momma.”
With so little time to prepare for their arrival last year, the Patterson’s had only what the state requires: A bed and a dresser in each room for two kids.
Stephanie said because of the members at Little Flock, the children’s rooms were quickly filled with everything they could need or want—clothes, toys, diapers and a crib. There was even a double stroller.
“It was unbelievable how much was provided,” Stephanie said. “My house was like a revolving door. People would call and ask if they could drop off dinner on our porch.”
The initial chaos has been filled with morning routines, after school routines and bedtime routines, Stephanie said, and while there are still many challenges for the new parents, they highly recommend becoming foster parents.
“This has been the most wonderfully exhausting thing we have ever done,” Stephanie said, “but the rewards are beyond compare.”
To learn more about becoming a foster parent or how your church can develop a ministry to support foster families in your church, go to www.sunrise.org/surroundtheone. (KBC)