Fort Mitchell, KY, November 9, 2023 – DCCH Center for Children and Families is changing the lives of children through foster care and adoption services. November is National Adoption Month and DCCH Center is changing the lives of children through foster care and adoption services. Here is a story we would like to share with you.
“My name is Raven. I am a junior at the University of Kentucky and I am studying to be a Social Worker. If you were to observe me from the outside looking in, you would think I had the perfect life. I have two loving parents and three family dogs, all Boston Terriers, I live off campus with two of my friends and have two cats who live with me in Lexington. However, once upon a time not too long ago, my life looked completely different.
The first 11 years of my life were very traumatic. Not every day was bad, but most days were bad. My biological parents were just kids when they had me and my siblings. They were drug addicts, and my home life was a very dark place. I was not safe, I did not feel love, I was neglected and abused. Being the oldest of three siblings, I often got the brunt of the trauma. I tried my best to shield my siblings from the daily abuse and neglect. I was a child though, so I could only do so much.
When I was eleven, the Department for Community-Based Services (DCBS) finally stepped in and removed us from that terrible environment. Then, I thought that was the worst thing in the world to happen, but it turned out to be my saving grace. I was separated from my siblings because the trauma I faced made it impossible to find a placement for me with them. I stay connected with them.
If you had told 11-year-old me that I would be a junior in college, she would have laughed you off the planet. Being in foster care completely changed my life. I was placed in Holly Hill Residential Home as an 11-year-old. I attended Campbell County School. That would place me on a path to meeting the man who would become my dad. I found myself in the principal’s office one day after starting a food fight in the cafeteria. The principal asked me if I would start a food fight if I were out to dinner with my family. When I blurted out that I did not have a family, he said he felt like a complete jerk. I was a foster kid living at Holly Hill. That conversation led him to have a conversation with his wife and the rest is history. I was adopted by them, and that principal is now my dad. Life can be a funny thing sometimes. It’s hard not to believe in fate when you stand back and look at all of life’s little coincidences.
He and my mom went through training and became certified to be foster parents through DCCH Center with the intention of fostering me. They could not have kids of their own and something I said that day led them to know in their hearts that I was what their family needed. My mom says she always questioned why she could not have kids until the day she met me. I had never been wanted by anyone in my life. I was a hopeless child who had been discarded by every adult in my life. I did not make life easy on them and sometimes I still don’t. They definitely had to earn my trust and it would take years for them to earn it.
Being fostered by a great set of parents did not erase my trauma, but they provided me with an atmosphere where I learned how to work through it, believe in myself, and give hope to a hopeless kid.
DCCH Center was the perfect foster agency for me. My case worker, Mel, felt like an older sister and not a social worker. She was young and fun. She would braid my hair, take me for coffee, jump on my trampoline with me, and just listen. DCCH matched me up with the perfect therapist. I still see her although now via Zoom since I am in Lexington most of the time. They were there the first day my DCBS social worker introduced me to the Smiths as my foster family and they were there when I was adopted on November 3, 2017. The therapeutic atmosphere that DCCH provided me was what I needed to learn to trust my parents and heal from the trauma I experienced. They are still there for me today even though I have been adopted for almost 6 years. I am doing my class volunteer hours with them and will do my professional internship with them during my senior year. I truly feel DCCH is a part of my family and played a significant role in my story.
I love telling people that I was adopted. Not many people get to say their parents chose them. If anyone reading this is thinking about fostering or adopting a child, I urge you to take a chance and try it. I was twelve when I was placed with my parents. Foster care saved my life and because of that, it has inspired me to be a social worker. There are so many kids out there that are just like me when I was eleven who need to be loved, cared for, and given hope.”
“DCCH Center provides residential treatment for children ages six to 14 with significant behavioral challenges, most of whom have been removed from their homes due to extreme neglect and/or sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. DCCH also provides Foster Care and Adoption services; Outpatient Therapy, which is open to the public; Independent Living for children aging out of the foster care system; and Targeted Case Management which provides wrap-around services for at-risk children designed to remove barriers and keep families together. Founded in 1848, DCCH strives to improve the lives of children who have been impacted by childhood trauma and bring families together for a bright, healthy, and happy future.”