Coalition of Care: One Family’s Journey

By Chris Combs
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Coalition of care picture of family's feet

Ben & Jessica are a married couple who attend Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2012, they heard their church was hosting a Foster Care Information Session. The church partnered with Coalition of Care, a nonprofit ministry serving as a bridge between local churches and vulnerable children in southwestern Ohio.

Coalition of Care Collaboration

When they attended the Info Session, they learned about the significant need for local foster parents. Also, about the challenges and the joys of fostering. As a follow-up to the Info Session, the Coalition of Care collaborated with a local private foster agency and with Crossroads Church to bring the 36-hour Ohio foster parent pre-service training to the church campus. Ben & Jess joined several dozen others in attending the training for 12 consecutive weeks. They felt a growing call to foster children in their home. They sensed a specific call. To open their home to sibling groups who are at high risk of being separated into multiple foster homes.

Ben & Jess completed the training and the approval process and became a licensed foster family. Soon afterward, the agency asked them to foster a sibling group of 3 children. They talked and prayed and agreed to the request.

Siblings

Ben & Jessica welcomed three young kids into their home. The children were shy and nervous. But Ben and Jess watched and marveled as all three of these sweet kids gradually overcame their fears and anxieties and began to thrive.

They learned that these three siblings had two other sisters who were with another foster family. They advocated for the two sisters to be moved to their home to join their other three siblings. Eventually, the court agreed to move these two sisters into their care as well.

Watching the five siblings come together joyfully and thrive as a family unit, reassured Ben and Jessica that all five of them belonged together. In a short period, their family grew from no children to 5 children in their home. The kids were thriving. Ben and Jess faced many complexities. However, they were thrilled to watch the kids heal, bond, and grow.

Later, the biological mom of these siblings gave birth to her sixth child. Soon that baby joined her five siblings in this high-energy foster home.

Adoption

Schumacher family photo

Eventually, a judge terminated the parental rights of that mom. Ben & Jessica agreed to adopt all six children. And the children chose them to be their forever parents. The family has faced many challenges. But, the children continue to thrive. And mom and dad manage to hold it all together.

At an uplifting ceremony in a Hamilton County courthouse, a group of leaders from multiple organizations celebrated the formal adoption. The county judge made the formal ruling. The county public children services agency, the private agency, and Coalition of Care celebrated alongside family and friends from Crossroads Church. They were officially a family of eight.

The family is thriving and the children are thrilled to be together. The parents have come full circle. Ben and Jessica now advocate in Information Sessions. They encourage other interested families to get involved in caring for vulnerable children. Also, they occasionally serve on foster/adoption speaker panels arranged by the Coalition of Care in local churches. They share their foster care story, answer questions, and encourage others to take a step forward.

Wait No More
Focus on the Family’s Wait No More program prepares hearts and homes for children in foster care. Everyone who feels called to foster, adopt or support a foster/adoptive family can be involved through our nationwide events and resources. Each day, we help advocate for kids in foster care to experience the love of family, no matter how long they’ve waited.
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