April 16, 2020

The names in this story have been changed to protect the identities of the foster child and parents.

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the Garcia family and see the incredible growth in their foster child, Johnny. Johnny was placed with his foster family in October 2018 at the age of five. Since then, he has learned to read, developed a love for books and improved his social skills. The first time I met Johnny was in October 2019, when his case was assigned to me. Johnny offered his previous Koinonia social worker and myself some Halloween candy and asked us to take some for the road. Since living with the Garcias, he has become a generous, kind, and imaginative child.

Earlier this week when I asked Johnny about the stay-at-home order and how he is spending his time at home, he shared that he has been staying busy with reading, watching Harry Potter movies and looking forward to his birthday. Originally, Johnny was planning on celebrating his seventh birthday at the local arcade, but like many parties in this season of social distancing, it was relocated to their family’s home. The Garcias made sure Johnny’s special day was still a fun day to remember, complete with a homemade, blue icing cake. Part of the “decor” included handmade face masks, which not only served as a reminder to stay safe, but also how grateful they are to all be healthy and celebrate his special day together.


Joanna Acevedo Andres, Social Worker

Joanna is a social worker at Koinonia’s Bakersfield Office. She is passionate about growing her gardening knowledge, sharing it with others, & enjoys practicing mindfulness through the healing properties nature offers. Her favorite thing about working at Koinonia is the opportunity to meet incredible families & join them in nurturing children to grow in all areas of life.

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