In 2011, a court decision was made to remove 18-month-old Malachi from his birth home and place him in foster care. Foster parents Elaine and Jeremy White were overjoyed to welcome Malachi into their home. They welcomed the opportunity to work with his birth mother to move toward reunification. From day one, the Whites embraced everything taught by KVC: mentoring, partnering with, and supporting biological parents and youth throughout the ability to reunify. While caring for Malachi, the Whites established, built, and maintained a relationship with his birth mother as she pursued reunification with her son. The Whites extended regular invitations for Malachi’s mother to visit him at their home. They made many other efforts to provide additional contact. Most importantly, Jeremy and Elaine continued to support this relationship despite any challenges that were presented throughout this case.
After some time, it was decided during a court hearing that Malachi would return home immediately to his mother that same day. Despite the shock and emotion of the situation, Elaine and Jeremy were quick to tell Malachi’s mom that they were so happy for her and would continue to support her in any event.
The Whites continued to foster other children and established positive relationships with their birth parents. Because of the efforts put forth by Elaine and Jeremy, four children, eventually and safely reunited with their biological families.
Shortly after after Malachi reunited with his birth mother, the Whites received a phone call. Malachi’s mother was confronted with some adversity and knew she could not properly care for her son at that time. She knew exactly where she wanted her son to be, which was with Elaine and Jeremy.
The Whites again worked diligently with Malachi’s mother to push through obstacles that were keeping her from caring for her son. Another court hearing was scheduled. This one was much different from the hearing that resulted in Malachi returning to live with his birth mother. The entire White family was in the court room wearing matching t-shirts. Jeremy and Elaine vowed to the judge that they would care for Malachi forever, and his adoption was finalized that day. Jeremy was beaming with pride. He and the boy whom he had cared for like his own son were officially together forever.
It has been over a year now since Malachi was adopted by the Whites. Elaine and Jeremy continue to foster youth. They support them as they work to resolve conflicts or disruptions with their birth parents. The Whites continue to provide opportunities for Malachi’s mother to be involved in his life. They welcome her to visit him.
Elaine, Jeremy, and Malachi’s story shows the extreme highs and lows that birth parents, foster parents and adoptive parents face on a regular basis. It can be so easy for foster parents to become attached to the children that come into their care. It takes heart, dedication, selflessness, and generosity in order to reunify a child with their birth family when possible. Therefore, these are the values we seek in all KVC foster parents.
How You Can Help
Many Nebraska youth are in need of a safe, loving foster family like the Whites. KVC Nebraska provides free training classes throughout the year. These classes help adults determine if foster parenting is the right fit for them. If you want to make a difference in the life of a child, please contact us today at (402) 742-8813.
*Jason Bequette, Foster Care Specialist for KVC Nebraska submitted this story during our 2015 summer story contest.