Your Life Will Never Be the Same

I will never forget the day: August 15, 2012.

The Children’s Center called to tell us that there was an opportunity to have a placement: a beautiful, almost two-year-old girl named Kaylin.

Because May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and because caring for this child changed our lives irrevocably, I am moved to share our story.

Although my wife Cortney and I had taken the training to become foster parents and made it through the licensing process, I still felt unsure. I worried about whether we were ready, and also that somehow I would “gyp” Kaylin because I had the desire to have my own children.

When I first met Kaylin, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. Kaylin never had a male figure in her life, so there was a disconnect between us. I remember a time when she was having a fit, and I witnessed her rage go from an 8 to an 80 in about 2.2 seconds.

I remember feeling helpless in those moments. None of the lessons we learned in the training courses were working. I felt like I made the wrong decision, and that the process of us becoming a family was just not a good idea.

I felt helpless for Kaylin too. She was not even two and her whole world had changed. Everything she knew was no more and now she was in a foreign place.

If you had told me then that Kaylin and I would have the type of relationship that we have today, I wouldn’t have believed you. The Children’s Center has been with us at every step to help navigate through the different challenges that have come up.

We laugh about it now, but when The Children’s Center would first come with Kaylin into our home, it wasn’t just her, it was their entire entourage—a posse of people from the Center who were there to ensure a smooth transition for Kaylin, and for my wife and me as new parents. I thank God for The Children’s Center for their help.

Now, there isn’t a day that goes by that Kaylin doesn’t give me the biggest hug. She climbs up onto my chest and gives me the biggest kisses. It’s amazing.

Kaylin, like hundreds of children in Michigan, could not be returned to her biological family. My wife and I adopted her and we are now a wonderful family.

Every day, I make it a habit to tell Kaylin how beautiful, special and smart she is. I want to reinforce all the positive things I know about her. I want her to know that she has a father in her life now who absolutely loves her and thinks the world of her.

I cannot bear thinking about Kaylin in an unsafe situation, but that is reality for many children in crisis in our community.  I would urge the public respond.

The Children’s Center needs more caring individuals to help with placements for children like Kaylin, whether temporarily or permanently, as in our case.

Loving Kaylin and providing her with a home and family is the best gift we could ask for.

Therefore, on May 8th, we’ll be on Woodward Avenue volunteering for The Children’s Center to help tie blue ribbons around trees and lampposts to raise awareness for National Foster Care Awareness Month.

Welcoming Kaylin into our home changed everything for us. And our lives are so much better for it.

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, email Shereen Allen-Youngblood or call (313) 262-1119.

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