Travis has big dreams. Go to college, study forestry, find a job he loves. He credits his foster home and foster parent Kathy for giving him the freedom to dream those big dreams.
Travis was 13 years old when his world turned upside down. He knew his family was dysfunctional. He knew that the drugs and abuse weren’t normal. But he never expected that he would have to leave. At 13, Travis entered the foster care system.
“It was scary. I didn’t know what to do. I thought the world was coming to an end,” said Travis.
Travis’ first foster home didn’t work out and he was sent to live in a residential facility.
“It felt more like prison than a home,” said Travis.
After some time there, Travis found himself in a group home. He said his time there was better, but he was still longing for a forever family and home.
“I wanted to feel free, with my own family, with people that cared,” said Travis.
After moving in and out of a foster home Travis calls “too controlling,” he found his way to Kathy’s home. Kathy is a DePaul foster parent. Kathy was the family Travis had been searching for.
“She listens to me and takes what I say to heart,” said Travis.
Travis has lived in Kathy’s home since the end of 2018. He has found happiness, stability, and the knowledge that he is safe and loved. As he chases his dreams, he is planning to stay in Kathy’s home and in the foster care system through Fostering Futures, a program that extends support to young men and women in foster care until they turn 21.
“I feel like I’m part of the family,” said Travis.
And if you ask Kathy, he is part of the family. Kathy has been a foster parent with DePaul for almost 26 years. She has welcomed many foster children of all ages into her home during that time. To this day, she keeps in touch with all of them. They are members of her family and she loves them unconditionally.
“Not to give up on them is the number one thing,” said Kathy. “They may challenge you to see if you will give up but too many people have already given up on them. You cannot.”
Kathy has a full house these days—two previously adopted sons, Travis, and Caleb, who was welcomed into the home about a year ago. Caleb has already decided he wants Kathy to adopt him.
If you look in Kathy’s home, you will find, among other things, a thread of thankfulness. Kathy is thankful for the ability to care for youth who need her, Caleb is thankful to have found his forever family, and Travis is so very thankful to have a place to plan his future.