Saint Francis Kansas Foster Family of the Year: Emily and Shawn Mason

June 2023 · Foster Care / Adoption, Foster Family Features, Kansas

Emily and Shawn Mason believe in second chances, so much so that building strong relationships with birth parents virtually defines the way they foster parent. The Lebo, Kansas, couple began fostering more than three and a half years ago so they could keep caring for a baby they’d already had in their home for a while. The mother, a relative, struggled with mental health issues and agreed to place her child in foster care so she would get the care she needed. The Masons didn’t want her to go to strangers, so they got licensed and eventually adopted Blakleigh, who turns four in August.

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Through Adoption and Kinship Care, the Reeds stand out: The 2022 Kinship Family of the Year shares their struggles, joys

June 2022 · Forward in Hope, Foster Family Features

Melissa and Michael Reed’s foster parenting story began more than 20 years ago, and it’s through foster care that they’ve built their family. It’s also led them to the path they now travel – one which they never could have predicted or planned. After adopting their daughter in 2002 when she was just four years old, they proceeded to adopt four more children who now range in ages from 13 to 24.

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Coolest kid in the 7th grade

June 2022 · Forward in Hope, Foster Family Features

High school sweethearts, Melani and Colton have lived in Pleasanton all their lives. It’s home in the most meaningful of ways because they are connected to the community through extended family, former classmates, and the neighbors they’ve known since they were kids. Theirs is not an unusual story in that regard. But shortly after their marriage five years ago, it became plain that their lives would be anything but usual.

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Saint Francis Kansas Kinship Family of the Year: Gena and Clifford Hailey

June 2021 · Foster Family Features, Kansas, Kinship, Ministry News

Human beings will do pretty much anything for those they love, and little compares to the love of a grandparent for a grandchild. So, when Gena and Clifford Hailey realized Phoenix, 3, and Merlin, 2, needed help, they didn’t hesitate to step in. Their daughter had struggled with addiction and other mental health issues for years, resulting in the boys developing health problems of their own.

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Saint Francis Kansas Foster Family of the Year: Lance and Mandy Tally

June 2021 · Foster Care / Adoption, Foster Family Features, Kansas

Licensed more than four years ago, the Tally family didn’t hesitate to wade into the deep end with their first long-term placement – a sibling set of four. Shortly afterwards, they added a fifth placement while the child waited for a kinship assessment. They’ve also fostered a teen, so she could remain in the community until she finished high school. They gave her a car and helped her apply for college and open a bank account. As far as Lance and Mandy are concerned, these actions are all just part of being an advocate for children in their care.

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Adoption grows and heals: ‘Everyone knew we would be the ones to step up’

January 2021 · Foster Care / Adoption, Foster Family Features, Ministry News

Joseph’s younger sister, Vanessa, passed away four days after giving birth in December 2018. At her death, her two daughters from a previous relationship went to live with their birth father’s family. Four days after her mother passed, Alexis turned 10 years old. The girls entered foster care in January 2018, and in April, they came to live with Joseph and Tonya as a kinship placement. None of their lives would be the same – and yet, they were all the better for it.

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Empty nesters: The family that farms together, fosters together

January 2021 · Foster Family Features

Every morning, Jim Zamrzla heads out the door to work on the 5,000 acres he and Stephanie farm near Holyrood, Kansas. They raised three boys and a girl on that land, each of them learning the importance of chipping in and helping out to support the needs of the family. So, when their daughter and youngest child, Taylor, prepared to leave home, the couple wondered just how much their lives would change – and how quiet their house would soon become.

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