Jenn and Mechelle came together in June of 2020. Jenn brought her daughter Lishai and Mechelle brought her daughters, Grace and Izzy, joining their beautiful families to create a family of two moms and three girls.
Before coming together, both Jenn and Mechelle knew that they wanted to be foster parents. Prior to meeting, Mechelle had fostered her transgender nephew. Jenn also pursued the approval process with another agency before meeting Mechelle, but the timing just wasn’t ever right. After some time passed, Jenn decided it was time to look into other agencies and finally complete the process. Her biggest priority was finding an agency that would answer all her questions with patience, grace, and kindness.
After researching many options, she felt Koinonia would be a good fit – and it became just that!
Prior to moving in with Mechelle, Jenn completed the process with Koinonia and got her first respite placement of three girls. Mechelle helped as much as possible as Jenn was adjusting to welcoming more kids into her home.
“My mom passed away when I was young and I was one of four, so keeping sibling groups together hits close to home for me,” Jenn explained.
Jenn’s experience has played a major role in her and Mechelle’s compassion for keeping siblings together and devotion for giving youth a safe, loving home. They understand the critical need for families willing to take sibling groups to avoid them getting separated.
Not long after her first placement, Jenn moved in with Mechelle and they began opening their home to families in need of respite care. Respite care is when one foster family cares for another family’s youth in foster care for a temporary period of time.
When asked “Why respite care?”, Jenn responded, “Due to the amount of space in our home, we are choosing to do short term care until the kids are out of high school and fully grown. Once they begin growing out of the house, we could be open to taking in LGBT teens. We know respite is where we are making the biggest difference possible right now.”
Their loving family is still currently focused on being a safe respite home for those who need it.
The couple agreed that the biggest blessing they’ve experience since beginning their foster care journey is to have the resources and ability to do so, as well as seeing their children share their enthusiasm in helping families and children in need. They feel it is a blessing to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children that come into their home. Their kids have also been able to see what other youth may go through and see how they can help, even at a young age. The process has given them the opportunity to teach their girls empathy and the hard process of saying goodbye when the youth in foster care leave their home.
Mechelle exclaimed proudly, “Kids are struggling a lot and it’s our family’s responsibility to help them!”
Jenn and Mechelle’s family is a perfect example of helping where they can and where it is needed. They do not allow their limited amount of space or three young children stop them from making a difference in their community. What an inspiration they are to so many!
Lanni Jackson, Contributor