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How One Young Girl’s Dream Led Her Family to Become Foster Parents

One family's journey of becoming foster parents in West Virginia

Sometimes it takes the heart of a child to make a difference in the world, and those positive impacts can start right at home. Meet Alyssa, a child whose wish for a sister changed her family forever. She played a big role in guiding her parents to foster care and becoming foster parents, and now she has four new sisters. Read more about their amazing journey! 

Alyssa’s Powerful Persuasion 

Alyssa

Alyssa

Alyssa grew up with two older brothers, but she had always wanted a sister – or, in her words, “a built-in best friend.”  

“I grew up knowing the Easter Bunny brought candy, the Tooth Fairy brought me change and Santa Claus brought me and my two older brothers’ toys,” Alyssa says. “But I never really wanted any of that stuff though. I wanted a sister. I wanted a sister so badly, more than anything.” 

Her opportunity to get her very own sister came when she received a flyer at school from KVC West Virginia, sharing our need for foster parents. Initially, Alyssa thought it was just another handout that wasn’t relevant to her.  

“Why would a second grader care about adult paperwork?” she shares. But once she understood what it meant, Alyssa saw it as her chance to finally get a sister. “I remember my face lighting up.” From the time she packed her backpack that day to the time she talked to her parents about the flyer “was the longest 10 minutes of my entire being,” Alyssa remembers!  

Her mother, Felicia, and stepdad, Adrian, initially didn’t match Alyssa’s enthusiasm. To set expectations, they explained that becoming foster parents would not guarantee that a girl would come live with them, let alone one her age. The flyer was quickly dismissed, and Alyssa thought that was the end of it. 

Becoming a Foster Family

Alyssa didn’t hear another word about foster care or getting a sister until the first day of summer break when a KVC case worker came to their home to speak with Alyssa. The case worker asked Alyssa all kinds of questions about her likes and interests before asking the same of her parents.  

Alyssa didn’t understand why the woman was there, and her parents didn’t tell her. They didn’t want to get her hopes up. But little did Alyssa know the process of becoming foster parents had officially begun. 

Welcoming Their First Placement – A Sibling Group of Three Girls

One family's journey of becoming foster parents in West VirginiaThree months later, the reason for the visitor was finally clear. Alyssa was returning home from a week-long stay at summer camp, and Alyssa’s mother, Felicia, had big news to share. They had to hurry home from camp because some special guests were on their way! Three girls were going to be coming to stay with them: a seven-year-old, a three-year-old and a baby. Although these three little girls may not stay with her family forever, Felicia emphasized, Alyssa was thrilled to finally have not one, but three sisters. 

Despite Alyssa’s excitement, she was about to learn the sadder and more difficult parts of what it meant to be a foster family. Through no fault of their own, children enduring abuse, neglect, or other family challenges may be removed from their homes by the courts for their own safety. This often results in them being unable to retrieve their personal belongings before entering foster care.

“The three girls came with no clothes, toys, shoes, or hygiene stuff, not even a toothbrush,” Alyssa remembers. “They only had the clothes they showed up in.” 

The oldest girl was very quiet, not speaking to Alyssa for the first week she lived with them. The toddler was anxious and wouldn’t sleep alone. The baby had a cleft palate, which meant she needed a lot of extra care and attention.  

A Christmas Surprise 

One family's journey of becoming foster parents in West VirginiaThings improved gradually over five months, and Alyssa’s foster sisters adjusted to their new life as the four girls grew close to each other. Then a new sister joined the family: a 12-year-old girl named Dawn who needed a temporary place to stay. “I’m sure this 12-year-old girl never thought she would have such a big impact on a kid like me,” reflects Alyssa, thinking back to the girl who quickly became a big sister to her.  

At first, their interests didn’t seem to mesh — but she and Dawn soon bonded over a shared passion for art. And Dawn could make anyone laugh, Alyssa says. “She just gave off that kind of energy.” 

As the family of five became a family of nine, many adjustments had to be made, and it wasn’t always easy. Alyssa’s stepdad had to cook for more people, her mom had to manage appointments and activities for four more children, and they all had to learn each other’s unique quirks and needs.  

“It was a learning experience for everyone, even my parents,” Alyssa says. “We made it though, through it all, and that’s something I know lots of people can’t say.” 

A Permanent Home 

Alyssa embraces her forever sister, Adreonna (Dawn).

Emotions of adoption day overflow as Alyssa embraces her forever sister, Adreonna (Dawn).

Not every story of foster care has the same ending. Some children move between multiple placements, some children age out of foster care and still more are safely reunited with their biological parents after a season of living with foster parents. But sometimes, the children who join a foster family stay forever. And this was the case for all four of Alyssa’s sisters. 

Despite the fact her placement was originally meant to be temporary, Dawn was officially adopted by Alyssa’s family just over three years later. Four months after that, Everly, Carla and Jess became part of the family permanently, too.  

“We like to call that day forever family day,” shares Alyssa. After years of living together and already feeling like family, they finally were — in every sense of the word. 

Foster Care Changed Alyssa’s Life

One family's journey of becoming foster parents in West Virginia

Since 2019, vacationing in Michigan has been an annual tradition for Alyssa’s family. Without missing a beat, they capture this cherished moment.

Alyssa is now almost 15 years old, and she is extremely passionate about foster care. Foster care brought her three little sisters and one big sister, all of whom have become important parts of Alyssa’s life. “I can say that foster care helped me through stuff I didn’t know I needed help through,” Alyssa shares. 

Despite all the joy and the incredible happy ending, Alyssa acknowledges that foster care isn’t always an easy path to take. “I won’t lie – it is tough, never knowing what would come next, but we got through it together,” Alyssa remembers.

“I always knew something was missing and KVC helped me find that something. Turns out that something wasn’t just a sister, it was four.”

Become a Foster Parent with KVC

Every journey through foster care is unique, and just like Alyssa’s family, you can make a lasting difference by becoming a foster parent. And who knows? You might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the positive impact the children in your care, along with their families, have on your own life. 

Learn how to become a foster parent here and join KVC West Virginia in finding homes for children in need.

Change a child's life forever. Learn about becoming a foster parent.