Mary Gaston was just a little girl when she discovered a birth certificate with the name “Margaret” on it. It had to be her. The only other kids in the family were her older sister, Monica, and her younger brother, Bill. She knew that she and Bill were adopted, so by process of elimination, that meant her birth name was Margaret.
If anyone believes in redemption, it’s The Reverend Phil Snyder. For this Episcopal deacon, new beginnings are made possible through reconciliation and forgiveness. If that notion sounds familiar, it’s because Saint Francis Ministries founder, Fr. Bob Mize Jr., believed the same. He built a ministry on the conviction that forgiveness is one of the greatest instruments of transformation. Naturally, Deacon Phil agrees … because as a Saint Francis boy, he experienced it first-hand.
This weekend, the United States of America celebrates its 246th birthday, and she doesn’t look a day over 229. Since the 4th falls on a Monday this year, many of our fellow Americans will get a three-day weekend, which usually sounds like good news to just about everybody. That means we can expect lots of outdoor fun like grilling, horseshoes, swimming, camping … and fireworks.
Generally, between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the former gets the most ink. After all, mothers give birth - which from what I hear, hurts a lot. So, they probably deserve the extra attention. Yet, more often these days, we hear about the enormous influence fathers have on the lives of their children. Studies and anecdotal evidence back this up. And we’re not just talking about birth fathers. Good foster fathers, adoptive fathers, and stepfathers all contribute towards the health and well-being of children and youth. Just having a positive, engaged male role model enhances the self-esteem and influences a child’s psychological, cognitive, and social development.
For five years, it had been just the two of them. And they liked it that way. They traveled, spent time with friends, and had the time of their lives. But something inside him itched ... and it wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard he tried to ignore it.
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.
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.
If you’ve followed Saint Francis Ministries’ social media activity at all this month, you may have noticed several stories about foster and kinship parents. They form the foundation of everything we do here – providing healing and hope to children and families. So, during Foster Care Month, we like to share their stories, as well as their thoughts about how fostering has changed their lives. And it does change lives.
Meet TIM! He’s the new mascot for our Trauma Informed Matters initiative, highlighting our focus on understanding the impacts of trauma and how we provide support and services to those affected.