The Bond Between Hearts, A True Story
“I can still remember when I was 3 years old and asking my mother not to leave. I was scared and it was night time,” relived Tresa. “But she would leave me and I was left in the house all by myself.”
Tresa’s birth mother was addicted to drugs and involved in an abusive relationship. She made many poor choices and was never taught how to nurture or lovingly care for her child. She would often leave Tresa alone at home during the evenings while she went out seeking substances. Fear and loneliness haunted Tresa, and she endured years of Post Traumatic Stress symptoms, nightmares and sleepless nights.
Tresa is the oldest of three sisters, each born just ten months apart. As a result of their biological mother’s lifestyle, all three girls were born premature. Jasmine, the second oldest, was born at only 2 pounds 2 ounces. She clinically died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital because she was not kept warm and developed hypothermia. By the grace of God, Jasmine was revived. The youngest sister, Noel, born weighing 4 and a half pounds faced challenges with Sensory Integration Disorder, affecting her ability to intake food and her motor skills as a baby.
Living just miles away from the girls, Jim and Carol, with their own biological children, felt a calling within their hearts to become foster parents. They decided to foster with St. Vincent Catholic Charities. Soon after they received a call about a baby girl born on Christmas Day, named Noel. “Our journey started eleven years ago when we received our first awaited phone call asking us to foster a 9 day old baby girl [Noel]. We were extremely excited and nervous about launching out into this new ministry that was deposited into our hearts,” shared Carol.
When the court terminated the girls’ biological mother’s parental rights, Jim and Carol decided to adopt all three of the sisters, keeping them in the same home. Jim and Carol knew going into the adoption that it was not going to be easy with the anticipated sleepless nights, health conditions, and therapeutic needs of the three girls all under age 4. However, they deeply felt it was a part of their mission to give these girls unconditional love and a stable home. The court granted their wish.
St. Vincent Catholic Charities (STVCC) worked closely with Jim and Carol to help them accomplish this mission through the adoption and ongoing services. “The professionalism, support, attentiveness from the staff, ensuring to keep us informed made our experiences so much more meaningful. They made it personal and have a vision of care for the children, to reach out and push for goodness,” said Jim. With open hearts to share the love with their new children, they gave a forever home to the girls. STVCC continued to also provide services such as counseling, to help Tresa heal from her fears of being left alone.
Three years ago, Jim and Carol received another call from STVCC with news of a baby boy, Isaiah, 4 days old and facing health issues. Isaiah is the biological brother of Tresa, Jasmine, and Noel. Jim and Carol adopted him. With excitement, the sisters welcomed him into their family and lives. This was their opportunity to share what they learned; to love and care for one another.
Today, Tresa is 15 years old, the varsity star of her volleyball team and in track where she broke a record set 17 years ago. Jasmine is 14, also plays volleyball and loves to draw. She wants to grow up to be a Pediatrician to help children. Noel is 13 and, this girl who once stuggled with motor skills, is now in archery and her compassion for animals is clearly visible. She wants to work rescuing animals from abuse when she is older. Isaiah is a healthy, active and sweet 3 year old. All of the children are doing well, have compassionate hearts and love their parents and each other dearly.
Tresa expressed with tears in her eyes, “We can’t imagine life without each other and we are always there for each other. Family doesn’t have to be related, it’s just a bond between hearts. There is always someone out there ready to love you. Have faith that God will make that connection.”
Carol shared, “Everyone thinks it’s so hard to be a foster parent, but you just have to have a willing heart and God will give you the tools to do the rest.”
If you would like to learn more about STVCC Adoption or Foster Care please contact Gina Snoeyink at (517) 323-4734 ext. 1615 or send her an e-mail.