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Pandemic Can't Keep 3 St. Louis Kids From Their Forever Home

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Katherine Streeter for NPR

Three St. Louis siblings recently had their adoption finalized, even in the midst of a pandemic. The children, ages 7, 6 and 5, were adopted by an Oregon family, with the final hearing taking place by phone due to COVID-19 restrictions on in-person court hearings. 

St. Louis-based foster care recruiter Edna Green, who works for the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in Brentwood and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, played matchmaker for the Oregon family and the three youngsters. She described the process on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air

Their siblings’ newly adoptive mother, Celeste Scott, also joined the program from Oregon. 

Scott already had five biological children, but the adoption of the three siblings gave her a sense of familiarity — she came from a family with eight siblings as well. 

“I came from a big family, and that’s something I’ve always wanted, and five just wasn’t enough for me,” she said. 

Scott and her husband began working toward the adoption about four years ago. She didn’t plan to take on three additional children at once but said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity once she came across the kids.

When it comes to sibling groups, Green said it’s critical that they remain together if possible. 

“They came in together, they share that trauma together, they have that bond there,” Green explained. “It’s hard to hear the term ‘sibling separation.’”

The Scott family welcomed the children with open arms and credited Green’s help along the way.

The conversation also included discussion about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges to children in foster care.

“Children come into foster care through no fault of their own; they’ve been abused or neglected, and that carries layers of trauma,” Rita Soronen, CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, said in pre-recorded remarks. “Then add to that this COVID-19 pandemic, where children are at elevated risk. Because they have those layers of trauma, their systems tend to be more susceptible to health care issues.”

If someone isn’t ready to become a full-fledged parent quite yet, Green said people can help kids in foster care by contacting local foster care agencies and volunteering to be a mentor, or becoming a foster parent or pre-adoptive parent. That’s fostering with the intent on adopting later. 

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Sarah Fenske joined St. Louis Public Radio as host of St. Louis on the Air in July 2019. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.