Kevin, a grandfather in central Illinois, has become a dad again.

After recently losing his own daughter to illness, Kevin knew what he needed to do to keep his family together. Not only did he officially adopt two of his grandchildren, ages 13 and 8, he became highly active in Parents Care & Share – a Children’s Home & Aid program that provides a safe space for parents to support each other with the stress and painful issues that can come with the role of guardianship.

“They have endured a lot together as a family. Kevin’s number one goal is to make sure they feel safe and loved.” ~ Dorothy Davis, Parents Care & Share Coordinator, Central Region

“When I have a question or there’s something that I need to know, or something I’m curious about, it’s a great forum for me to go to,” Kevin said. “Got a couple heroes in that group, you know? They made me look at my situation and say ‘Hey, you can do this.’ It’s a great way to feel like I’m not alone.”

Parents Care & Share coordinator, Dorothy Davis, said that Kevin is one of those heroes too and uses his experience and knowledge to help in any way he can.

“Kevin is an incredible asset to Parents Care & Share. He assisted my intern in an assessment for her social work program and met with her monthly to give her case management skills,” Dorothy said. “Kevin is an amazing grandfather who does an excellent job of parenting. He listens to the girls with compassion.”

On June 8th, Kevin delivered a moving recitation of his poem at our virtual event, Breaking Barriers. Centering Families. Transforming Systems., where we came together with families, communities, advocates, and partners to unpack challenges within the current child welfare system. Kevin’s poem, called “Dbldaddy’s Love” spoke directly to what his family and other parents are doing to make their families as strong as possible.

Kevin noted that he was initially worried for the grandkids, noting that after their mom passed away, he too, had some health problems. But with the support of the group and a personal assistant, Kevin is optimistic that each of the children is feeling loved and secure. His youngest grandchild, just two years old, was adopted by a wonderful local family and the siblings stay connected with visits, video chats as often as possible.

“We are just enjoying spending time together and time with family and I’m going to try to do as many activities with them that my body can tolerate,” said Kevin with a chuckle. “But I’ve got some good people in my corner that can help with that – looking forward to not being stuck in the house but interacting again.”

Kevin’s story is a testament to the profound impact fostering can make within a family and a reminder of what we’re all working towards as we reimagine the fractured child welfare system into one that focuses on the entire family’s wellbeing.