What Matters Most

They roll in to give what matters most When you’re away from home – and you can’t go home – a team of mother figures shows up at the door to give you some love. And you realize then, no matter what mistakes you made, someone is out there rooting for you.

Meet the Swansboro United Methodist Women.

From 45 minutes south, they drive caravan-style up Highway 17 to deliver comfort and encouragement to the boys at our Craven transitional living home: prize bags for field day, gift cards for Christmas, holiday comfort food, birthday cards, valentines, Easter lunch, pizza, wooly hats, homemade cookies.

And they want you to know something: They receive as much as they give.

“It’s not a matter of just giving,” says Marilyn Boyce. “Because when people give, it puts them in a superior position and, while we’re older than these children, this is a matter of
reciprocation. They give to us in ways they probably don’t really know.”

A couple of years ago, the Craven boys painted a serving platter with hearts and confetti colors; they glazed and fired it, and they gave it to the Swansboro women. That platter comes out at every single circle meeting – second Wednesday of the month – as a reminder of their friendship.

“We see so much hope in them,” says Gay Licko. “We get to share a little in the plans for their future. We are allowed to be part of it, and we feel welcomed.”


Travel Raffle

An Experience to Remember
A $100 ticket buys your chance to win one of five incredible experiences – hotel accommodations included.

Elton John Farewell Tour, Sept. 10 or 11
Does not include airfare to Anaheim, CA | Don’t miss Elton John’s last-ever tour, the end of a half-century on the road for one of pop culture’s most enduring performers. The new stage production will take you on a musical and highly visual journey spanning a 50-year career of hits like no one has seen before. Get the details: Elton John Farewell

Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Does not include airfare | Welcome to the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail! Here’s your passport to the world’s greatest Bourbon – legendary distilleries just waiting to share their historic craft, timeless secrets and proud traditions of Kentucky’s signature spirit. Get the details: Kentucky Bourbon Trail
 
 
 

Kennedy Space Astronaut Adventure
Includes roundtrip airfare for 2 to Orlando, Fla. | Enjoy a unique experience for two at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, 45 minutes east of Orlando. More interactive than a museum, more inspirational than a science center, and more authentic and educational than a theme park, the Kennedy Space Center offers a mix of thrilling simulators, breathtaking attractions, behind-the-scenes tours, and more. Get the details: Kennedy Space Center
 

Exotic Supercar Driving Experience
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Isaiah

 

Two years ago, Mandy and Doug announced to friends that they were going to be foster parents. Their license had been approved, and they wondered what “mystery kids,” as their daughter, Darian, called them, would come.

Would they get a boy or a girl? Maybe a toddler, maybe a middle-schooler? Would it be one child or a sibling group? Tomorrow or months away?

It was exciting to think about, but bittersweet too. Before cancer took 5-year-old Denny, their son and brother, a liver transplant from another child had extended his life. They knew, as they poured their hopes and prayers into saving Denny, that someone else was grieving the unthinkable. Their own loss would come two years later.

Now they were preparing their hearts to love – and possibly lose – a child carrying his or her own grief, and they wondered what it would be. Loss of parents, home, siblings, school? What else?

Their mystery kid, it turns out, is named Isaiah.

Born into foster care, Isaiah was living in his third home, heading to his fourth, on that November day when Mandy and Doug announced their plans to foster. They would become his fifth and final home – a permanent family for a boy who loves soccer, running fast, holiday decorating, raking leaves, and visiting the beach. Isaiah’s adoption was completed in May.


Jumping Back In


Alexis, age 6; Jamie, age 5

They had done this. Kevin and Susan had raised three children into their teens already, so a couple of toddlers couldn’t do anything to surprise them. Right?

On his first day alone with Alexis and Jamie, Kevin turned his back for just a moment while the kids were in the kitchen. When he looked again, he saw the 2- and 3-year-olds “showering” in the water dispenser on the refrigerator.

The last time Kevin had parented preschoolers, his refrigerator didn’t even have a water dispenser. Now he and Susan were discovering all that had changed since their own teenagers were young – and suddenly remembering how relentless young children can be.

“They were everywhere,” Susan says.

Susan and Kevin were new to foster care then, but they were ready to jump back into the preschool hustle of car seats, diapers, and potty-training. They knew the first days with Alexis and Jamie would be chaotic. They were prepared for the demands of parenting neglected children who’d lost everything. Alexis missed her birth mother, and both struggled to sleep.

Today Alexis and Jamie are bright, happy kids – still everywhere, eager to try new things. They were adopted this summer and live every day secure in the love of their parents, Susan and Kevin, and their siblings Jacob, Emily, and Sam.


Foster & Adopt

Wake and Pitt counties | Are you interested in fostering or adopting?

We have information sessions to answer your questions about fostering and adopting through Methodist Home for Children.

RSVP is required: Call 888.305.4321, ext.6, or email FosterandAdopt@mhfc.org.

On the agenda:
•  What it means to be a foster parent.
•  What the training & licensing process is all about.
•  What types of children are referred to our foster care / adoption program.
•  Dates for our next MAPP training class.

January
•  Jan. 28, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

February
•  Feb. 6, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Feb. 25, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

March
•  March 7, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  March 11, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

April
•  April 11, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

May
•  May 20, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

June
•  June 13, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  June 17, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

July
•  July 11, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  July 22, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Remember to RSVP!


Christmas Joy

When a 7 year old child says, “Mom, I want to spread joy at Christmas” … when churches, families, Army Reservists, hoteliers, restaurants, schools, foundations, fitness clubs, hospitals, car dealerships, house cleaning services, radio stations, book stores, and friends on Facebook ALL join together to make sure our children and families have joy at Christmas, we are thankful. Your giving brings more joy than you can imagine.


For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

 

This is the scripture we used last year to introduce you to DeMikael. At that time, he was shopping for a bow tie (his first) and he wanted to get it right. After all, it’s important to look your best when addressing state lawmakers.

DeMikael came to us when a court counselor named Anthony Cobb looked at him and saw an individual with great potential. DeMikael was 16, strong but powerless, bright but invisible. He was a teen just beginning to believe the future could be bigger than the present.

When he moved into our transitional living home, DeMikael found people who believed in him and who worked daily to restore his belief in himself. That’s what DeMikael needed most and, once it was secured, there was no stopping him.

His accomplishments that year went far beyond anything he ever imagined for himself. He found the strength and courage to step away from his former life. He completed high school. He started a job, worked on a farm, and delivered Meals on Wheels. Then he did something few his age could do: He walked into the Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh and addressed members of the North Carolina legislature, telling his story and what he hoped to accomplish. A few months later, having completed our program, DeMikael officially left our care.

We say it that way – that he “officially” left our care – because, even though it was time for him to step out on his own, he remains in our heart. In that sense, he will never leave our care. We will answer the phone when he calls, offer advice and support, and celebrate his milestones. And when something really big happens – such as graduating from Ordnance Corps training – those closest to him will board a plane and attend the graduation.

That was DeMikael’s most recent accomplishment. After DeMikael officially left our care, he enlisted with the National Guard. Soon he found himself at basic training. He called us during the summer for an update and, when we heard graduation was scheduled in September, Mr. Claude, DeMikael’s mentor from our transitional living program, made plans to attend.

DeMikael is back in Raleigh now, ready to start college in just a few weeks. He is a young man who continues to step out and do new things. We are so proud of him – and we know this is just the beginning.

 

Share some encouragement with DeMikael in the field below:


10 reasons to foster

CLICK HERE to watch Kevin and Susan read their list … with a little help from Jamie and Alexis

#10 Love is not a finite resource. We all have plenty to go around.

#9 A preschooler rolling her eyes at a teenager is both hilarious and character-building!

#8 The network of foster families in Pitt County and Eastern North Carolina is wonderful – they have challenged us to be better people.

#7 Some things are easier the 4th and 5th time around (and some things are not)

#6 You get a front-seat view into the lives of social workers, foster care workers, guardians ad litem, lawyers, and judges who work tirelessly for the safety and security of all children. It is hard to imagine more selfless, challenging, yet rewarding jobs.

#5 Littles make Christmas really fun!

#4 You’ll become more grateful.

#3 Preschoolers are excellent birth control (especially for teens).

#2 The blessings you receive will far exceed the effort you give.

#1 Sleep is overrated.

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Veronica

This is the face of resilience. This is Veronica.

Born one of 12 siblings, Veronica was raised to her early teen years in a housing community beset by poverty and crime. She was 13 when she was placed into foster care and, a year later, she came to Methodist Home for Children.

Today, Veronica is a college graduate – described by social workers as one of the most resourceful and resilient people they’ve ever met.

She was the first student to graduate from Wake Tech’s Fostering Bright Futures program in 2012, earning an associate degree in criminal justice, and she graduated from UNC-Greensboro in August with a bachelor’s degree in sustainable hospitality and tourism.

We are so very proud of Veronica and her drive to stay focused and positive. As a beneficiary of our Hackley Education & Learning Program – which helped her with tuition, housing, and transportation – she gives back now by encouraging kids in foster care to surround themselves with successful people and to earn their degrees. UNC-Greensboro, she tells them, introduced her to a world of diverse people, cultures, and thought that she treasured as a student and she continues to cultivate in her new career. She gets to meet colorful people every day as VIP host at Harrah’s Casino Cherokee – a job she loves – and she’s saving so she can help her family and see the world by traveling.

Congratulations to you, Veronica, for this latest achievement.

See what our other HELP students are doing this year –


Hurricane Update

Thank you for your prayers – we’re glad to report that the children and teens in our care are safe after Hurricane Florence.

We evacuated group homes in Craven, Chowan, Hertford, Wayne, Wake, and Onslow counties. Residents of five homes went to our crisis & assessment center in Butner; the others moved to a hotel in Raleigh.

To date, only one of our homes has been signficantly damaged by the storm. Our Wayne multipurpose home, above, has flooded and will need repairs before it can reopen to teens.

We ask for your continued prayers and support for the children in our care.