Monica, Alex and George* entered foster care after their drug-addicted mother continually neglected and exposed them to danger, and after they witnessed an attempted murder in their front yard. Erica, a single 35 year-old woman and second cousin, was located and informed the children needed a family to care for and adopt them and that the children might remain split apart if no one came forward. Though she had never met her cousins, Erica decided to move to their state to reunite sister and brothers and give them a home.
Erica soon realized she had to provide for an instant family and that the kids required special care due to the trauma they experienced. She found an innovative community — similar to Hope Lights — designed to support the needs of a family like hers and moved in. Here they met many new friends and neighbors eager to help. They formed a particularly close bond with Edna, a 75 year-old woman who gives her time to nurture the kids and encourages Erica as a new parent of three. They share weekly Sunday dinners and Edna’s newfound family calls her “Grammy”. Edna claims, “I have more joy and purpose in each of my days”.
This is just one story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. There are 10,000 children in the Washington State foster care system that share similar experiences of abuse and neglect and face the possibility of life long obstacles.
Hope Lights is a multigenerational community where children in foster and kinship care will find forever families. It is also a place where parents will get the support they need to raise their kids and seniors will find a continued sense of purpose.*Names have been changed and stock photography has been used to protect the identity of the family.