Triple the love

Anyone who decides to open their homes and their hearts to foster a child with special needs obviously has a lot of love to give and a clear desire to use it to help children. 

As a social worker with Kennedy Krieger’s Therapeutic Foster Care program, I’m fortunate to meet so many kind and loving individuals who simply want to provide loving, stable homes for children in need—some with multiple medical or behavioral issues. Sometimes, one of those families decides they want to commit to a lifetime of caring and become a forever family to a child who desperately needs just that. 

One such family are the Mackels, who have not only fostered multiple children, but, six times, they’ve have done so with the goal of adoption. While their decision to foster and adopt children with special needs deserves recognition, one factor makes their situation even more unique: Three of the little girls (adoptions numbers three, four, and five) are triplets.  

For the Mackels, the choice of becoming a permanent family for a little girl placed in their home named Jasmine came naturally. Knowing she was one of three siblings (each with her own developmental challenges) they expressed interest not only in ensuring the children maintained contact with one another, but in reunifying them, which they accomplished by adopting all three.  

Finding families willing to take in an entire sibling group is difficult.  Add to that the fact that the girls, all toddlers, were developmentally delayed, and that makes the Mackel’s decision to adopt even more unique. But for the Mackels, it wasn’t even a question. It was simply the way it had to be. They knew the best thing for the girls was to keep them together. And they knew they were capable of providing that. 

Not only have Theresa and Nathaniel provided the kind of nurturing and loving home these little girls and their adopted siblings deserve,  they are also constant advocates  for them, ensuring they get what they need so they can realize their full potential. The Makels are tireless in their quest to secure what each child needs to be successful and happy. Families like the Makels make my job so rewarding, and knowing people like them keeps me going. Their entire family is an example of what’s possible for these kids when the right people come along with love and devotion to spare. They’re living, breathing examples of what can be.

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. Unfortunately, there are never enough foster or adoptive families to go around. For every loving foster and or adoptive family, there are many more children in need of loving and stable homes. To find out more about becoming a foster, adoptive, or respite parent with our foster program, visit http://therapeuticfamilycare.org/.

Katie Stetler is a social worker with the Therapeutic Foster Care Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

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