The Virginia couple behind Restore TFC can help you navigate the foster system

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Jun 05, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- Foster Care Month may have just ended, but the work to find loving foster and adoptive parents for children in Virginia's foster care system continues.

Nearly 5,000 children are in foster care in Virginia.

Some of their stories are on the Virginia Kids Belong website, but they're not complete.

That's where you can help add a chapter. Or two.

"We don't want any of our families to feel alone, to feel isolated," said Kebrah Jefferson.

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Kebrah Jefferson

She is someone who can help you help these children.

"I noticed that foster parents tend to have the smallest voice in the room," Jefferson said. "To me, that's a problem. Foster parents provide direct care to children. They know these children better than anybody at the table besides birth parents. It's important that we validate what they're saying."

Her private non-profit agency Restore Therapeutic Foster Care works every day to support foster families and clear up misconceptions.

"About it being a cost to a family, about the behaviors being completely extreme and not manageable, that you won't be assisted, or have what you need in order to be successful," she said. "We like to clear up those myths and let people know, 'hey, here's the help that you'll be receiving. Here are the services. Here's what we do, what we provide.'"

Her husband Christian points out fostering comes in many forms and says you certainly don't have to decide on a life-long commitment right away.

"However long you're able to do it, if you want to try it off for a couple of years, that's great," said Christian. "The impact that you're making in a couple of years is just phenomenal. There are ways to get your feet wet, test drive the car, see if this is the way that you want to make an impact with your family."

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Christian Jefferson

"Maybe you don't have a calling in your family to do fostering yourself, but you have identified some other foster families, and you want to help put together cribs. You're in a network where you can support. You can buy baby clothes. There are a lot of specialties, specific knowledge that people have, that they don't even know would be very beneficial to foster families, like education systems, knowing how to do IEPs (Individualized Education Program) and how to advocate for things like that."

The couple themselves fostered a teen who came for a weekend and stayed a year and with whom they're still close.

Then they fostered two young boys, ages two and three, whom they ended up adopting.

Kebrah Jefferson says the stability she and her husband provide has allowed the boys to flourish.

"When kids know when they're going to eat, when kids know what school they're going to today, when kids know that you'll be there to pick them up from school, it allows them to let go of their anxieties and focus on the present," said Kebrah.

So maybe there's a child out there who can teach you what one proud dad has learned: that it becomes impossible to imagine a world any other way.

"My son has a very unique way of saying my name or just looking at me when he's calling me," Christian said. "And it's a thing. And I don't know how to describe it, but there's definitely a special bond when they start just seeing you as family."

There are so many ways to help these children.

You can contact Restore Therapeutic Foster Care, here.

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