Late at night in May of 2019, two little girls were brought to the door of Elijah and Aeryun Kinder, a Mesa couple who were recently licensed to foster and adopt. The girls, Zoe and Sophia, arrived with matted hair, teeth full of cavities and difficulty expressing themselves with words—signs of serious neglect for children their age.
Elijah always had the idea of fostering in the back of his mind but working at a school in Mesa and seeing children from Child Crisis Arizona’s Emergency Children’s Shelter as they attended each day propelled him to look into the idea more seriously. Aeryun had three biological children from a previous relationship, including a daughter who was eager to have a sister, and she too recognized the need for more foster homes in Arizona.
With help from Child Crisis Arizona, Elijah and Aeryun worked with the girls to take care of not only the physical needs but the mental and educational needs as well. Exactly one year later Zoe and Sophia were officially adopted.
“Once you see how much growth they’ve made and how much they’ve changed and how much you’ve had to do that and how much you’ve worked through those issues together… I couldn’t imagine life without them,” Elijah said.
Even with five kids in their home, the Kinders have not stopped fostering children.
“Sometimes what keeps us going is just seeing we have beds available. We know there are kids looking for a place to sleep as we speak. There’s no way we can just close our doors and deny them of that,” said Aeryun.
“I enjoy having the big family and all the kids around. Overall I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s great for their connections and ours,” Elijah said.
There are thousands of children in Arizona’s foster care system in need of a stable, loving home. To learn more about foster care and adoption, please join us for a virtual agency meet and greet. You can find information on meetings dates and times HERE.