Inspirational Foster and Adoptive Families
Each year, we recognize one family as the KVC Resource Parents of the Year. These heroic families are providing love and support to children who have experienced abuse, neglect and other traumatic circumstances. We thank and congratulate these families for the wonderful work they do.
2013 Winner – Murphy Family
KVC selected foster/adoptive parents Pete and Daphne Murphy as the 2013 KVC Resource Foster Parents of the year. The Murphy family resides in the Wayne area and have been foster parents with KVC since 2007. In this time, they have adopted six children. The Murphys were surprised and honored to be named Foster Parents of the Year. They have such a passion for helping children in need that they joked they would get divorced and buy houses across the street from one another if it meant they could continue to foster and adopt children!
Since the Murphys currently have six adopted children in their home, they will sadly be closing with KVC. However, KVC is honored to have worked with the Murphys and will keep in touch with them.
2012 Winner – Cedar Family
Ken and Vanese have been foster parents for 25 years, through WV Youth Services, which then became Action Youth Care, which then was assumed by KVC. Since 1987, they have opened their hearts and home to over 55 children. Ranging from infancy to late adolescence, the children placed with the Cedars have had a range of mental health, behavioral, and developmental needs. They have assumed guardianship of three children, and have adopted three children, in addition to raising two biological sons. The Cedars have a particular strength in maintaining a sense of structure and consistency in the face of difficult circumstances, ranging from runaway and crisis situations to surviving an extended power outage.
They consistently go above and beyond for the children in their care and for the foster care program itself, by actively involving the children in their care into their daily family routine, by volunteering to serve as mentors for new foster parents in the area, and by helping to recruit new foster families in the area. The Cedar family was recently featured in a story on foster care in a Charleston area newspaper, and are strong advocates for the foster care program.
Both have recently gone back to school and obtained Bachelor’s Degrees from WVU-P, and Ken is now serving as a Youth Advantage case worker for the WV Workforce Program. Thank you, Cedars, for your amazing dedication!
2011 Winner – Shaffer Family
Lynn and Roger Shaffer are involved in school and community activities and always turn their documentation in on a timely manner. The Shaffers are extremely accommodating for staff and bend over backwards to ensure that the workers are able to see the children. Schedules and timeframes seem to always work out. This home is requested by DHHR and staff. This is because they take care of these children as if they were their own.
The Shaffer family is very active and busy. They provide instant companionship and teach important life lessons to the children. The children can learn self-acceptance by being a part of this family where there are other kids like them. None of the children are singled out as being a problem child. Each child has issues — often different from the others and yet sometimes the same.
This family teaches cooperation, life skills, and responsibility. It is physically impossible for parents of large families, without outside help, to maintain a household, including cooking, cleaning, and laundry, when there are several children. For this reason, children must work together to assist parents in keeping the house running smoothly. Keep in mind that the Shaffers are both retired. However, this family has made raising children their life’s passion and purpose. There are few outside activities that don’t involve children. Parents like this don’t add children to their lives — they make children their lives.
2010 Winner – Oquendo Family
Two of West Virginia’s best parents put their hearts and souls into caring for kids. Betty and Cruz Oquendo, who are unable to have biological children, have fostered 13 children since 2006 and adopted two of them.
Betty and Cruz accept all children into their home, regardless of their medical challenges or emotional wounds, and they tell each child that this will be their last placement unless the child is unhappy and wants to move. Through temper tantrums and runaways, the couple has remained strong in their belief that each child deserves a chance, and sometimes many chances. With patience, they heal scars, say bedtime prayers and love each child as their own. They teach the children to work hard in school in order to build stable lives for themselves.
Betty and Cruz hope to adopt four more of the children who are currently living with them, and view each child who comes to them as a blessing from God. KVC West Virginia is proud to name Betty and Cruz Oquendo as KVC Foster Parents of the Year 2010.