Children and families come to Kinship House with a variety of life experiences and views about the world. Each family learns something new in their time at Kinship House, acquiring knowledge and skills to use throughout their daily lives.
Please note: The names and identifying information of the children featured on our website have been changed to preserve their privacy.
Meet Kemeatrous and Keontae
Thanks everyone for your continued support. I have a feeling that these two boys will do good things someday. They’re off to a good start! – Joy & Matt Gibson, parents of Kemeatrous and Keontae
We recently received an uplifting update from one of our families! Joy Gibson, the proud mom of Kemeatrous and Keontae, two brothers that Joy and her husband, Matt, adopted, shared the exciting news about a recent family trip to Washington, D.C. This past fall, the brothers along with several other families, spoke at a presentation hosted by Voice for Adoption. The family had an amazing time meeting with Senator Ron Wyden and taking a tour of the tunnels underneath the Capitol Building, an unexpected highlight! The adventure wrapped up that weekend with Kemeatrous’ thirteenth birthday.
Kemeatrous and Keontae are brothers who found their forever home together. The boys had a long journey to adoption, but when Joy and Matt met them they were determined to create a loving, family environment for these amazing brothers. Joy continues to share her appreciation for the support that Kinship House provided not only her two boys but to many of the foster and adopted children in the Portland Metro area.
At 9 years old, how do you understand being adopted into a permanent family after living in foster care for several years?
The moment we met “Meredith,” we loved her and wanted to make her life better. After she was adopted as our own, we realized that Meredith dealt with her internal emotions by acting out in school and at home. As newly adoptive parents, we knew that Meredith’s 9-year old memories and confusion were something that we may never understand. So we found help at Kinship House.
After many hours of individual and joint counseling with Meredith at Kinship House, the counselors were able to help us better understand Meredith’s history of many years in foster care and her lack of feelings of love. They were also able to help Meredith understand that her confusion was normal and that she had people that she could trust and love.
We’re now proud grandparents to Meredith’s first daughter with her loving husband. We’re proud of Meredith and her accomplishments. And for the first time in many years, we also know that Meredith is proud of her accomplishments, and finally understands how it feels to feel good about herself.
How do you forget the smell of bacon, eggs, and whiskey?
Bacon, eggs, and whiskey used to smell like a beating when I was a kid. My dad was a cook at a restaurant and would come home late at night sometimes to beat my mom and older brother, and sometimes me. One day he just left and we were all alone. I felt abandoned, alone, and relieved, all at the same time.
After dad left, mom worked all the time and we never had enough money. One day mom came home and seemed happy again. Several months later she told us that she had met a nice man at her new job, and we spent a lot of time together. After they got married, we went to live with him and he sat us down one night and told us that he wanted to adopt us and be our father. It was a lot of work to go see a judge, and make the adoption happen. My counselor at Kinship House helped us understand what was going to happen and helped us to understand our feelings and how to control them. Both my brother and I were happy to have new memories and a new family.
How do you know if you were a good foster parent? Past foster kids stay in contact and still come back to visit.
I thought I was pretty tough when I first entered foster care at 15. I didn’t like rules, skipped school, stayed out until the early morning, experimented with drugs, and hung out with a rough crowd. My dad had recently remarried and let’s just say, that I didn’t get along with my new stepmother. My dad put me in juvenile hall and a judge decided to move me to a foster home for awhile.
That’s when I met Ron and Lisa. They were a young couple without any kids of their own and it seemed like they would be easy to outsmart. As I was adjusting to this new situation, I barely spoke a word to them in the first few days. Since they lived in the boring country, I didn’t see my city friends and I met new friends.
For the first time in a long time I felt like people actually cared about me. Ron and Lisa let me keep the puppy I brought home one day, even though I know they didn’t want a dog. I still have pictures of myself falling on the bunny slope when they tried to teach me how to ski. After I got used to them we had fun, and I started to want to do better in my life.
After a year of living in foster care and working with a counselor at Kinship House, I wanted to try living with my dad again. Although it didn’t work, I’m now 20 years old and actually graduated from high school and have a full-time job. I still call or go back to visit Ron and Lisa as often as possible, and I know that they’re pretty proud of me.
When do I finally get to stop moving around from foster home to foster home?
I’m happiest that I don’t have to move again for awhile. I’m “Edward” and 13 years old.
The state took us all away from my parents after they learned that we didn’t go to school and that my parents had problems with drugs and alcohol. I felt guilty about being glad that we moved, because my parents were always yelling and arguing and fighting over money. After the state took us and we were placed in foster homes, my sisters and I moved a lot of times, and we often weren’t able to stay together in the same home.
When we were separated, I felt very lonely and angry. As I got older I started getting in trouble and didn’t do well in school. Luckily, my caseworker finally placed me in a permanent foster family who took me to Kinship House with them. After a lot of talking, I started to believe that my new family really did understand and believe in me.
I don’t live with my siblings at my new foster home, but its permanent and we keep in touch and have visits. I still miss my real parents and hope that someday we can become a family again. But with the help of my new permanent family and my counselors at Kinship House, I try to stay focused on the present and my new life.
The biggest difference I feel from not having to move again soon, is that I finally feel “normal.” I never thought that I could be good at anything, but I’ve made new friends and have made the honor role every term. I finally believe it when my family tells me that “You can do and be anything you want to be!”
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