Voices of Children 2019

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16th Annual

Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives 2019








For over 20 years, dedicated individuals across Washington State have made significant contributions towards raising awareness, and improving resources for the Kinship Families of Washington State. Some of these trailblazers were Legislators such as Representatives Kip Takuda, and Eric Pettigrew and Senators Karen Frasier, and Curtis King. Others worked for State Offices like Tom Berry from Economic Services, Nancy Koptur from Child Support Enforcement, and Bob Partlow from Children’s Services. We also benefited from the contributions of visionaries Lyman Legters, Lynn Biggs, and Ron Murphy from Casey Family Programs who launched a pilot “Kinship Navigator” program. From that very successful effort came our first Kinship Navigators who included Helen Sawyer, Dotty Simpson, Terry Aguilera-Flemming, and still serving Yakima Caregivers today, Mary Pleger. We want to also recognize our the nonprofit heroes who have so successfully given voice to the barriers and challenges faced by Kinship Families. Our deepest appreciation to Kinship PioneersEdith Owen, Abbey Moon Jordan, and Indiana Allen. Perhaps our most dedicated supporter throughout these years has been Hilarie Hauptman. Hilarie is the Kinship Care/Lifespan Respite Program Manager with the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration, Department of Social and Health Services. For over three decades, Hilarie has dedicated her career to caregiving by developing statewide programs including Respite Care, Family Caregiver Support, Kinship Navigator and Kinship Caregiver Support. Hilarie is passionate, genuine and an advocate for both children and their kinship caregivers. She is committed to ensuring that kinship caregivers are heard and supported. Through the creation of resources, programs, partnership development, outreach and support, Hilarie has positively influenced the lives of thousands of children and kinship caregivers in Washington. Voices of Children is one of her most cherished projects. Authentic and sincere, Hilarie’s office is adorned with drawings and stories from children and kinship caregivers. It is clear that her personal and professional mission is intertwined. Each drawing, each story represents a family and we know that Hilarie is both humbled, and honored to have been a part of their journey. Washington is lucky to have a champion such as Hilarie Hauptman who has made such critically important contributions, which have made such significant differences in the lives of families. With our sincerest appreciation, thank you Hilarie for everything you do! This year’s dedication recognizes the outstanding and critical contributions of these heroic leaders who have so generously given their time, energy and resources to make significant differences in the lives of Kinship families. We appreciate your leadership, inspiration and tenacious efforts on behalf of the Kinship Families of Washington State.


With our deepest appreciation, we say: Thank you!

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Kaden -

William -


Magdalena -

My name is Nattalee and I am 11 years old. I am excited to live with my Great Grandma Bonnie and my grandma YawYaw (Wendy). My brother is two and went to live with GG Bonnie and YawYaw when my mom couldn’t keep us because she needed help and decided to let us live with GG and YawYaw. It is so good to live with my grandmas. Our home is safe, warm, and comfortable. We have popcorn movie nights where we makes beds on the floor and we turn out the lights and laugh and tickle each other. My family also includes Honey and Little Bit our small dogs. GG said I run fast and needed a best friend to run with, so she got Little Bit for me. She is my best friend she even sleeps with me. She likes to cuddle. She runs so fast. She is black with the cuties wiskers on her chin. I love her so much plus Honey is so sweet to. My GG Bonnie went to my school to talk with my teacher. I was having problems and couldn’t read. I meet with Dr. Winters and he checked my eyes, they didn’t work together. So he setup therapy times and I went to therapy for 8 months and I just graduated. I now read better, write better, the words don’t jump around or disappear. I am happy because I feel better and have more confidence. I thank my GG Bonnie and YawYaw for getting me therapy. I really feel good about school now. They had to push me and I got mad. But we did it together. My Grandmas are great. I have made new friends living with my Grandmas. We play and have sleep overs. They like my grandmas to. I have a bike to ride and one to share when my cousins come to visit because GG thinks we need the fresh air and fun together. GG lets me play on her phone. I love that she trusts me. We go get ice cream cones, and go to family reunions. It’s great fun. At bed time we pray for our families and friends. This makes me happy.

Nattalee -

My name is Summer. I live with my grandparents due to the death of my mom. My mom passed away on 11-5-06, because my dad shot her. He shot her in front of my brother and I. My grandparents are the best thing that has happened to my brother and I. They are the reason I am who I am today. I am now in high school, and I get straight A’s. My grandparents are amazing and so understanding. They are very loving and care about us so much. When we lived with our dad’s side of the family, they would abuse my brother. I am more than thankful that I now live with my nana and papa. They have taught me and Payton so much, as in respect, responsibility, and they make us so happy. They are always there when we need them. And my nana and I have an unbreakable bond. She is my best friend and my papa always teaches me about life and I really do appreciate it. I love them and my brother so much. Everything I went through I went through it with my brother, and that is why we are so close. That’s all thank you.

Summer -

Going the Extra Mile It’s not a Grandparents job to raise their Grandchildren. They’re supposed to take out their life savings to go on adventures, make new memories, and they’re definitely supposed to take a well-deserved break. But my Grandparents decided to take on the job of becoming parents again. When I was around the age of 6 I remember the trailer my sisters and I lived in with our mom and dad. It reeked of cigarettes and alcohol as soon as you opened the door. There was no room to play, no clean water, not enough food for a full meal and definitely no new clothes. And because of that we would get dropped off at our grandparents’ house every week. We would get new clothes, get properly bathed and eat a delicious meal. One day my mom said pack up your things your living with your grandparents. I had three things, my school backpack, my Chucky doll I got from the smoke shack and the clothes on my back. It felt no different from any other day because we were always over there, but after a while my mom stopped visiting us at our new home and we never saw our dad. But we went to school every day, ate our three meals of the day plus dessert, went shopping regularly, made new friends, learned new things about ourselves, and learned to be more appreciative of our grandparents every day. There isn’t anything in this world I wouldn’t do for them, because they raised my sisters and I since we were kids and certainly because I love them. I owe my whole life to my grandparents. And they deserve everything in this life.

Lola -


Amaiya -

Jayden -

Amajeia -

Victoria -

Savannah -

Jaxon -

Jenesiis -


Thomas -

Adara -

I am Taryn. I live with my Grandma and I love it. I have lived with my Grandma since I was 3 and now I am 10 and a half. When I was 2 or 3 I remember my Mom just giving me a bottle and locking me in my room in the dark and she would just have partys then my Dad got really into drugs and still is. Also my mom went to prison and my Dad is in and out of jail. I got taken away from Dad when I was 3 and I was so happy because I am now living with my wonderful Grandma Karen. We do everything together she gets me through tough times and she keeps me busy like I am doing Volley Ball, Cheerleading, Fast pitch and I am getting better grades. I love my Grandma and I know she loves me to because she shows it and says it. When I am crying she always cheers me up. Also now I am crowning witch means I am a Honor star in Church and I get to go shopping for a pretty dress with my Grandma and get to have a good time.

Taryn -

Elissa -

Brooklynn -

Sofia -

Hope -

Charles -

Corde -

Trent -

Esperanza -


Olivia -

Takoda -

Phillip -

MyLena -

Hennessy -

Sevon -

Gunny -

Jaiden -


Jasmine -

My familays names are Jaxan James Nevah Ivan Izzy grandma grandpa and John. I love my grandma and grandpa very much. I love when grandma and grandpa fead me. -John (9)

John -

Izzy -

Nevaeh -


Angelina -

Hello my name is Anthony. I am thirteen years old. I want to share how being raised by my grandmother has impacted my life. I don’t have a relationship with my father. I probably seen my father in my life time a couple when he use to live in this town. And now that he moved out of the country I heard and seen less of him. As for my mother we have a great relationship! We talk to each other every day or facetime each other. My grandmother trys to have me spend summers with her. If we know of a family member or a friend driving to California I try to catch a ride. If I can and if not I fly out to visit my mom. When Im at my mom’s we try to catch up with lost time! I very blessed to have a meal everyday. I am blessed to be very well taken care of. She gives me all the love that I need and could ever want in this world. That’s why I want to finish highschool for I could go to college and get a good job that I will love to do, and in return return I can take care of my grandmother and give her back all that she’s given me. So being raised by my grandma has impacted my life in a great way. My grandmother taught me how to be respectful, loyal, hones, and always tell me to be safe. I will always try to be respectful to everyone. And I will always try to be hones to everyone and to myself.

Anthony -

Living with grandma is like living in heaven

Hayden -

Andrew -

Fayette -

My name is Payton. I am 17 years old and I live with my 15 year old sister and my grandparents do to the death of our mother, caused by our father. We have lived with our grandparents for 7 years, but befor all that we lived with our other grandparents. I would always get bad grades in school and be very disrespectful to others and not care about my actions, and then they took us to Oaklahoma were I did even worse in school and were my sister had to go to the hospital because of her stomach but she was just home sick. Then our other grandparents came and took us back and me and my sister have been doing better in school we are in sports and are very good at them. Living with them have made my life a whole lot better and I couldn’t ask for better grandparents I love them so much. Thank you.

Payton -

Ivan -