Steve and Lillian are supportive and capable foster parents who have recently adopted their nine-year-old son, Elijah. The Slipps took Elijah into their home as an emergency respite placement and knew from the start that Elijah was sweet and loving. Steve and Lillian are a good team, both with older adult children in their 20s, who readily tackle new concepts and embrace extreme behaviors. The pair were patient with Elijah through his ups and downs and provided much-needed stability and guidance.
Lillian worked with individuals with disabilities for over 25 years and currently works full time at OrthoVirginia in Lynchburg. Formerly in the Air Force and recently retired from the postal service, Steve serves as primary care provider for Elijah and the Slipps’ other foster children. Steve easily handles running the house, going to meetings and appointments, and tending to the kids’ needs.
Elijah bonded with Steve easily and was his instant sidekick. “Elijah absolutely adores Steve and wants to do everything Steve is doing,” said Lillian. “He wants to dress like him; he puts his zipper at the same place on his jacket, wears keys on his belt loop too, and has the same cowboy boots as Steve. Elijah was craving that father figure.” Raised by his grandparents—who continue to be a positive influence in his life today—with very little to no communication with his birth parents, Elijah always hoped for a dad who could ride bikes, go hiking, roller skating, and be the wonderful role model he needed.
When Elijah’s respite care with the Slipps ended, he went back to residential care and the three were encouraged to keep in touch. The Slipps were hesitant to clean out Elijah’s room because while they knew they could use the extra room for their other foster children, they couldn’t quite bring themselves to close Elijah’s chapter in their hearts. They knew their adoption journey would bring challenges but thought to themselves, what child doesn’t?
Steve and Lillian didn’t give up on foster care following their adoption of Elijah and continue to foster today. Their decision to keep opening their home seemed only natural to them—Lillian describes their home as a “safe place” where children are made to feel wanted, important, special, and loved. It is important to them that home is a place for healing, a place to grow and to receive guidance. Their current foster child, Daniel*, has acclimated well to the Slipps home because of Elijah’s presence—the two attended the same schools in the past and have bonded over their shared experiences.
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