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Meet 7 Amazing Foster Fathers Who Are Making a Difference – Week 1

The month of June gives us warmer weather, new trips and activities, and Father’s Day.  KVC West Virginia will be honoring a foster father for each day in June.  These are first being posted on our Facebook page. Whether you missed it or just want to hear their stories again, here is a recap of week one.

Jacob McCumbers has been a foster parent since 2015. Jacob is only one of two KVC West Virginia single foster dads! In his short time of being a foster parent, Jacob has already proven to be a fantastic asset to KVC. He has cared for one 9-year-old boy in foster care since August 2015. In the beginning, the child had some behaviors that were difficult for him to manage – something that is typical of children in foster care due to the abuse, neglect or other adversity they have faced. However, Jacob has never given up on him. He has stuck by him and helped him work through his behaviors and has seen an amazing improvement in the boy. Jacob got him involved in school activities and has taken him on lots of trips and vacations. He recently took the child to the beach for the very first time and has a trip planned to visit the western U.S. this summer! By getting him involved in t-ball and giving him responsibilities such as taking care of the animals and helping around the house, the child’s self-esteem has soared. The child states that he feels safe with Jacob and that he is loved. Jacob is a school teacher and makes sure that the child is getting all the help he needs to succeed in school. There has been a big improvement in his grades. Jacob is patient and caring and makes sure that all the child’s needs are being met. Jacob states that the best part of being a foster parent is helping children excel and loving them so that they can have an enjoyable life. We are so fortunate to have Jacob as a foster parent with KVC!

Lincoln County foster parent Thomas Hanson has been a foster parent with KVC since January 2014. He and his wife, Megan, dreamed of adopting two children. (While most children who enter foster care will be safely reunified with their birth families, there are some children for whom it will never be safe to return home. KVC WV has matched over 150 such children with adoptive families.) The Hansons were hopeful that KVC could help them through this journey. After completing the training to become foster parents, the Hansons began caring for two brothers in foster care. Thomas doted on the two boys just like any new parent would. Although the couple had only planned on adopting two children, they began caring for one more child… a baby girl! Thomas and Megan eventually adopted the two boys and are in the process of adopting the girl.

Thomas has earned the “parent’s rite-of-passage” through his parenting journey. His once orderly house is now a toy store; his empty yard is now a playground; his trips to the Bahamas are now Disney vacations; his unplanned days are now full of watching Disney cartoons, enjoying play dates, and snuggling with three children. KVC is proud to call Thomas Hanson a KVC foster parent. He has been a true asset to the Lincoln County team and for West Virginia children. Thank you, Thomas, for everything you have done and for choosing KVC to help you on your adoption journey!

Wendell Browning is being recognized as an outstanding foster father by the KVC WV Lincoln office. Wendell has been a foster parent with KVC since March 2005 and has been a mentor for other new foster families in the Lincoln and Kanawha County areas. He and his lovely wife, Shirley, have adopted five children and are currently fostering two children. Wendell is known for his patience and calm demeanor with children that have challenging behaviors. It is important to him to be a good role model and a mentor to the children in his care. It has been amazing watching Wendell and Shirley embrace the rollercoaster of foster parenting. There are no words to express how amazing this family is. God is working through this family and we are in awe every time we hear more of their story. Thank you, Wendell, for everything you do for West Virginia children!

Jeremy Carter and his wife, Stephanie, have been KVC foster parents since October 2015. The Carters enjoy helping children that need support and stability in their lives. They are a loving Christian family that has been through a lot of heartache. They have decided to turn their heartbreak into a positive experience. Jeremy is a wonderful father and person. He is described by the case manager as the ‘welcoming committee” at the home. He is calm and patient with lots of compliments for the children. He is an equal parent and takes turns spending time with each child. Jeremy is also the peacemaker in the family. He is excellent at resolving issues. He has taken the time to explain the court process to his foster son. Jeremy explained it in a way that has helped the child to feel loved and supported in his temporary home.  KVC is honored to have Jeremy Carter as a foster parent. Thank You, Carter family, for all you do. We appreciate you.

The KVC Logan office would like to recognize foster father Archie Blankenship. He and his wife, Cynthia, have been KVC foster parents since November 2015. Since then, both have shown wonderful support to the children in their care. Archie has a warm, caring personality and shows love and compassion for all. He works well with KVC staff, DHHR personnel and the families of children in foster care. Archie has a great sense of humor and is always thinking of others. He is the proud father of three daughters. Only one remains at home, so Archie and Cynthia decided to become foster parents to help children who needed a home. They are also open to the possibility of growing their family through adoption. We are very proud to have Archie as part of our KVC family!

The KVC Wayne office would like to recognize Howard “Rocky” Sowards as an exceptional foster father! Rocky has been a KVC foster parent since 2013 and is well-known in the community for his efforts to help children. He is very dedicated to children and goes above and beyond to advocate for their needs. Rocky and his wife, Betty, are currently in the process of adopting three children from foster care. Rocky does an excellent job with all the children, and is supportive, caring, and teaches them values. Children in foster care have often experienced trauma and need understanding and support. Rocky is their anchor and demonstrates that regardless of sometimes challenging behaviors. He will always be there for them as a dad. Thank you, Rocky!

The Raleigh/Wyoming County office staff would like to recognize Gaston Smith. He and his wife Valerie have been KVC foster parents since 2011 and have fostered approximately 15 children. The Smiths have previous fostering experience and have actually been certified foster parents over 25 years! They have adopted and taken legal guardianship of several children. KVC staff describe Gaston as always being a voice of reason, offering wisdom and strong advice to the children and teens he has fostered and adopted. Gaston enjoys attending and taking part in KVC trainings and often offers advice and his experiences to newer foster families. Gaston has truly has made a difference in so many lives throughout the years. Thank you, Gaston!

Thank you to all of our wonderful foster fathers who make a difference in the lives of children each day.  If you would like to make a difference in the life of a child (through donation of time, money, or goods), please contact KVC today!

Read the next article: Meet 4 Amazing Foster Fathers Who Are Making a Difference – Week 2