Marilee and her wife Kileen have five children, four of whom they have adopted from the foster care system, and continue to foster a sibling of their adopted children.
What inspired you to want to foster?
I was in foster care when I was little. I don’t remember that time but my mom has fond memories of the foster mom who helped take care of me and put her mind at ease that everything was going to be ok. Personally, I’ve always worked with kids and my last job was working at a group home. Having that firsthand experience with kiddos who are in transition and don’t really have that family home, it put my mind into a better perspective to try to be there for kiddos while they are in transition.
What have you learned from the children you have fostered?
Patience. Trauma comes in all different forms. Even though you may be educated on one thing, you learn as you go. Knowledge is power and love is unconditional in all forms.
What has been the best part about your foster care journey?
The best part has been having a nurturing relationship with their bio parents. We have private Facebook pages set up for sharing photos and memories of each child with their biological family. It’s wonderful to be able to share their children with them. As much as they are our children, they love those kids too.
Some parents we don’t interact with much but we know, even when we don’t have a close relationship, they are appreciative that they get to see their child grow up. That means the most to us. It truly does take a village. Just because they had rough times in life and were not able to care for their kids, those children are still a part of them.
What is a common misconception about foster care that you would like to clear up?
That fostering is all bad or all good. You learn as you go. Reach out to your village. They are so necessary in this journey.
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