By David Cooley, Assistant Editor of the Messenger.

"Some people go throughout their whole lives without realizing what others in their life did for them. Then there are those put into a situation so awful they come to realize that everything happens for a reason, and they are able to see what people have done for them. I belong with the second group of people."

So begins an essay written by Covington Catholic High School senior Gage Sova in which he communicated his appreciation for what Todd and Mary Jo Sova, parishioners at St. Pius X Parish, Edgewood, had done for him when they adopted him in 2007.

November is National Adoption Month, and the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home (DCCH), Ft. Mitchell, is presenting a foster care and adoption event for families interested in providing a home for the burgeoning number of children in need in the community. Interested families can plan to attend a meet-n-greet, Nov. 29, 6:30-8 p.m., or Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m.-noon; details are available at or by contacting Sarah Lusher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gage wrote his story for his high school class, but decided to share it with his parents and with DCCH Center for Children and Families. The very powerful and moving story highlights his emotional journey in his early life and the hope and stability he was given by their generous decision and commitment to him through adoption.

"Normally, when I tell people about my life when I was younger, they don’t believe me-because they think I was too young to be able to remember stuff like that, but believe me, if you had stuff like that happen to you, you would remember, no matter what age," he wrote in his essay.

Gage continued his story expressing the growth in his understanding of his birth mother’s fight with her drug addiction, her immaturity and being overwhelmed as a teen mom with little support.

"People around us started to realize she was failing, no longer able to carry out her motherhood like she used to. Not only did she have me, now she had three more kids to take care of. The social workers came and took us from my mom."

"...If you had stuff like that happen to you, you would remember, no matter what age."

Gage then expressed the pain associated with his first moves within foster care and the several foster families he started out with but, for one reason or another, didn’t work out.

"I was with a total of four different families and that was in a span of only two years, which doesn’t seem like much, but for a kid it lasts an eternity. I hated every moment of it and I never realized that until I put my story on paper. … It felt like as soon as I moved in, it was out again," he said.

"… One day, on January 29, 2005-a day filled with chocolate cake and Spiderman-my sixth birthday, I was spending time with one of my foster parents to be. That day I found out what true kindness was. In February 2005 I moved in with them. I call them mom and dad, but most know them as Todd and Mary Jo."

Gage stated that Mr. and Mrs. Sova helped him grow and encouraged him to do great things.

"They took all the confusion I had and helped set it straight. Now that I am older I have come to appreciate what they did and I love them for it."

It is clear that Gage recalls the happiness he experienced when Mr. and Mrs. Sova were identified through DCCH as his new forever adoptive family. The chocolate birthday cake and Spiderman he was given at his first visit with them are now very special memories. He knew it was the turning point in his life. Mr. and Mrs. Sova eventually adopted all three of his siblings.

Because of their experience, Gage and his siblings are very much aware of DCCH Center and the needs, worries and fears of children in foster care. Gage recently earned his Eagle Scout badge; when it was time to work on his project, he decided that he should bring joy and laughter for other children less fortunate. He wanted to give the children at DCCH something fun to do. He ended up building a Ga-ga Pit for the children to enjoy. A Ga-ga Pit is an octagonal three-foot wall structure to play a modified dodge ball game.

Gage stated that he did not write his story to get pity; he thought that by sharing he might inspire other people to consider fostering to adopt other waiting children. It felt right to go back to DCCH and build something for other children to enjoy and share his story as a conduit to let other prospective foster parents know that adoption has done for him and what they could do for others.

Ron Bertsch, therapeutic foster care and adoption director at DCCH Center for Children and Families, said that he is overwhelmed with joy with a success story such as the Sova family. He also said that he was impressed by the insight that Gage seemed to have on the sacrifice made by his adoptive family.

"That doesn’t happen all the time; sometimes it takes a long time for them to come to that realization, especially when they are still dealing with their own grief and trying to discover who they are. Gage seems to have a maturity not only to see that but also to articulate it. It was very moving," he said.

"They took all the confusion I had and helped set it straight."

"The fact that he had such a strong memory struck a chord with me, and that’s why I want to be able to be part of the system that does exactly that we did for Gage; I want to be able to do that for every child-for us to be able to place them in a really good home the very first time so that they don’t have to experience that extra trauma from the system,” he said. “A very important piece of that is recruiting more people like Todd and Mary Jo."

Mr. Bertsch said that the need is great, with referrals coming in at the staggering rate of over 300 a month-over 100 percent increase from 2012 to now. Most have to do with the heroin epidemic.

"It is so important from a spiritual standpoint; these children have suffered so much and they don’t know what is going on in the world, so if we can have a family that is grounded and able to show them unconditional love and point them in the direction of what God’s love is for them, that, to me, is what the calling of a foster parent is," he said.

At the informational meetings the staff at DCCH will help answer any questions people have. Mr. Bertsch will give an overview of the agency and let them know the steps of becoming foster parents and adoptive families. Attendees will be given an opportunity to commit to the upcoming training process required before becoming a foster parent, adoptive parent or respite provider.

This article originally appeared in the November 18, 2016 edition of the Messenger. Any and all credits should be given to David Cooley. The article can be found here.