Millpond Collective 02

Page 1

ISSUE 02

MARCH 2022

collective

HEART & HOME top tips for a cleaner house newfound perspective

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT! local artists give insight into their work

SPRING ACTION cocktails for your next gathering


Katie Frazier Curated Interiors | Lexington, Virginia

THE TEAM SAMANTHA MORRIS

SAMANTHA SHOVER

JONATHAN SHOVER

editor in chief + creative director

assistant editor, journalist + photographer

managing editor, content coordinator + videographer


CONTENTS 05

07

13

GET TO KNOW US, THE MILLPOND TEAM

HOME SPA DETAILING, SPRING CLEANING

BOBBY MILLER CONSTRUCTION, HOME TOUR

24 AREA ARTISTS, BEHIND THE BRUSH

35 CURATED INTERIORS HOSTS: SPRING COCKTAILS

43 THE ROAD TO A FAMILY, JOURNEY ALONG

staunton, virginia 02


pillars the building blocks of millpond collective

family

“Millpond Family” is the heart and basic building block of our business. It seems like each client we work with ends up becoming folks that we want to cook out with, laugh and cry with, and follow along as they go through life’s big adventures. This section of the magazine is devoted to people that we want to highlight that manifest all things “family.”

home

We want to incorporate all senses of home in the magazine whether it be highlighting an old home built on history, taking you on a tour through someone’s amazing kitchen, giving you the most amazing warm-your-belly recipes contributed by the best cooks we know, and even helping you to remember the things that really make a house a home.

business It is hard to know every single business that surrounds us. We want you to know about the mom and pop places that started 20 years ago, or the business of the 16 year old kid who just started out. We want to shine light on the people that we see shining light on others...and following their dreams while they do it!

grounded

03

This section of the magazine is devoted to all things well-being. We want our Millpond Collective readers to have some insight into others that may help them be more in tune with their spiritual, mental, physical well being...whether that be from visiting your local plant nursery, to learning about how to breathe. Grounded is the broadest topic, but probably one of the most important ones of all!



Q+A frequently asked Q: What do you do outside of photography? A: Sam and Jonathan love spending time with family and friends, baking, cleaning and catching up around the house, working in the yard and flowerbeds, going on hikes, and anything artsy! A: Sam Morris enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, going on spur of the moment adventures, and tending to her farmhouse.


Q: What services do you offer? A: We offer commercial, architecture, portraiture, and wedding photography and videography. We host an AirBnB that we just renovated in Staunton and run a prints shop through our new website. Sam Morris also provides graphic design and creative content for our team! Q: What is the hardest part of your job? A: Sam and Jonathan Shover feel that time management and balancing home life with the business is the hardest part of their job. It is difficult for them to dial down from working and not be in work mode, even while they are at home. A: Sam Morris says the hardest part of her job is also separating work from home life, especially because she works remotely! A creative’s mind is always running, so shutting that off and spending down time is challenging most days.


pillar of business

HOME SPA DETAILING Owner: Brittany Costa Top 10 Helpful Notes For Spring Cleaning

@homespadetailing

07


HIRE HELP For a lot of people, I feel like you can't do in four hours what we can do in four hours just because you can get so easily distracted in your house. We can come in and just focus on taking care of somebody's house whereas you know, the homeowner would get in a room, get overwhelmed, and then not really do anything…or they have kids, they have distractions, they have pets. So, we come in and get it done in like four hours or less. And then you have a deep stress-free clean.

UTILIZE FAVORITE PRODUCTS One of my favorite products is this mini vacuum. It's the world's best vacuum, especially if you have pets-it has an attachment for pet hair! My absolute favorite secret weapon is vinegar, because we don't use anything super strong like bleach. I keep a spray bottle on me with vinegar and a little bit of Dawn- because that cuts down on the vinegar smell. If I have a shower where there's tons of watermarks or soap scum, I'll spray vinegar and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes, hit it with my steamer, and it's completely spotless! For example, if I find water rings around sinks and my steamer is just not cutting it, I’ll leave vinegar on it for five minutes. You have to be careful, because with certain finishes you don't want the acid to lift the finish off of something. Every time we see an electric cooktop, there will be years of burned on rings that are impossible to get off. We found this amazing product called Cleaning Clay. It’s a European product. Every time we do someone's cooktop with that, they'll swear that they've never seen it so clean! We also shine and polish sinks with that. Another product I love is a steamer. I'll use it on people's doors and trim and it easily helps to remove dirt. The best thing about the steamer is that it's so hot that it also sanitizes. I love sanitizing all the doorknobs throughout the house, and all the hot water areas like a shower or a sink or anything like that.

brittany costa



CHECK BEHIND DOORS I feel like spots that are most often missed, are behind doors, because a lot of people will clean in and out and then they never think to look behind the door. Every time we go into a house, we check behind doors. We've even had people tell us that other companies missed that so I always like to get behind doors because it's easily missed.

BLINDS Blinds are a big spring cleaning item because that's only something you really want to do once a year. You can use a vacuum or even a steamer to really get off the hard grime.

MATRESSES

Take all your sheets off of your mattress and take that handheld vacuum mentioned above and it will suck up tons of dust.

CLEAN WITH NATURAL LIGHT

The biggest most helpful thing on the planet is cleaning with a ton of sunlight, because we'll clean a room in the dark and then the sun will come out and we can see tons of streaks. Every time we go into a house, the first thing we do is open every single window that we can because then you just see the most of everything.

TOSS EXPIRED ITEMS

Go through your home and get rid of expired items, or things that just don’t bring joy anymore. Once a year, go through expired medicine, expired food, and expired skincare products.

ORGANIZE

I love cleaning with a cleaning caddy. I keep this little bucket on me and I feel like it makes life super easy because you can just go from room to room and not have to take five sprays, three rags, a duster...I just keep everything in a cleaning caddy. Every time I get something small in the mail, I save boxes and I put them in drawers. This is a cheaper alternative to buying expensive organizing trays. Put a lazy susan in your refrigerator. It will maximize your space, and help you access your products easier.

10


WINDOWS I've learned that with glass, a Norwex rag is the most amazing thing on the planet. You just have to spray with water and use a Norwex rag and it gets it off. Whatever you have on the window, it will get it off. It is such a streak free window afterwards. People swear by newspapers, and I think Norwex is way better.

hint of motivation

11

I enjoy cleaning so much more if I have gloves on. I feel like I will look at something and think ooh, that's gross. I don't want to touch it. I don't want to clean it. But I feel like if you get a nice pair of cleaning gloves, it makes you want to clean something. There's something mental about wearing gloves that you actually get excited about cleaning something when you have gloves on. You feel protected.


photography • PORTRAITURE • BUSINESS • ARCHITECTURE • WEDDINGS

contact us 540.836.7392

@millpondphotography


pillar of home BOBBY MILLER CONSTRUCTION

HOMETOWN BUILD

Architectural designer Stephen P. Hinton

Interior designer Tori Hinton Via, CID with Design Vision Inc. Waynesboro, Va 13


First floor An open airy feel with breezy blues, large windows that fill the walls and tall ceilings. The wrought iron light fixtures give us nice contrast. As you look through the windows in the breakfast room, it feels as though you are perched in the treetops. This floor features several bedroom suites, as does the lower level complete with custom designed closets and porcelain showers. Two ornate staircases lead to the other levels.


15



Biophilic DesigN This home has a well-planned footprint that literally “hugs” the hillside. Every room and each exterior window were placed intentionally to take advantage of the views and the wildlife. Exterior materials reflect the colors of nature to allow it to fit comfortably within the landscape. The conditioned space is approximately 6,524 sf, with multiple garage and storage support spaces.

unique architectural elements The front and rear of the home feature arched top porch ceilings which continue into the entry foyer and continue on through to a cathedral in the family room.

note from the designers In conclusion the custom design is specific for this client and this spectacular property. As the designers, we are thrilled with the end product. The General Contractor, Bobby Miller and his crew did a fabulous job bringing our visions to life. We wish the homeowners years of enjoyment in this home full of character and craftsmanship.

17


EXCLUSIVE

MADDIE GRAFF 540.490.1996

bride

540. 836. 7392


They utilized porcelain and quartz countertops throughout which gives a simple clean look paired with white cabinetry as requested by the client. The kitchen is filled with natural light and is a chef’s dream. The walk-in pantry with custom designed built ins.


Ground floor The ground floor living space is filled with rich colors and materials. The wood tones of the custom stained doors have a more masculine feel. The kidney shaped island is a focal point with a leathered fantasy brown granite perfect for entertaining. The fireplaces are oversized to complement the room, complete with natural stone and brick hearths, overhung by one of a kind mantles custom made for these spaces. 20


BEHIND THE BUILD

It took a total of 32 tandem loads of gravel to build up the ground floor, including 11 FT of gravel under the turret


There are a total of 43 casement windows including 29 single, 5 double, and 9 triple There are also

9 custom exterior doors


the pittman residence


AREA ARTISTS


pillar of grounded

ANGUS CARTER “Like all of us the seasons effect my moods and throughout winter the grey bleakness at times can be overwhelming. My work reflects this taking on a darker more drab color palette. I also find winter to be a period of reflective isolation and in that my work takes on a somber introspective feel. Come spring when the first flowers emerge and the frogs start hollering, I venture out into the woods again and my work begins to shift. I find myself then starting to use more vibrant colors and as Im more sociable, I become more hopeful and my work while still reflective is no longer as bleak and begins to embody a more hopeful spirit. An idea that dark,

tough times will always give way to a brighter more hopeful future.”


@angus_carter_art


N.O.D, distressed, too many repairs, expired listings?

WE CAN HELP!

no hassle strategies, bought as-is, at no cost to you

EST. 2019 specializing in custom woodwork

(540) 324 8517

ELI BUTLER 540.688.6377

Ophelia


pillar of grounded

Noelia Nuñez “”My art, I want it to be happy. Yes there’s darkness and confusion we’re living through, but my art is a reminder that there’s light. We can create good with our actions every day. I hope my art showcases this: our ability to transform our own view on life, with what we choose to see and how.”


“My art shifts with the season. Spring brings out vibrant colors in me, my paintings, when everything is in bloom and a new landscape resurfaces. It translates to my art with a lighter, larger array of tones and hues. The flowers and trees represent new beginnings and greater possibilities for movement. New ideas move into my sketches and paintings, leading to fresh works.”

29


30


“I want my art to showcase the good things”


“ I mainly use acrylics; sometimes I do watercolor and penwork with gouache paint. My career as an artist started to take form in 2016 after participating in art festivals. Farmhaus Coffee in Waynesboro hosted my pieces a few times, then Réunion Bakery in Staunton asked to showcase some. That’s where things started to really take off. Meeting people in the community face-to-face turned into more and more commissions. Now the business keeps growing! ”



MEADE SHIRLEY 540.241.9075 info@elkmountaincontracting.com


curated interiors

spring cocktails

@curatedinteriorslex


BEE’S KNEES 2 oz. gin 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice 1/2 oz. honey syrup Garnish with bee pollen Glassware: Circa 1970's amber crinkled-look sherbet glasses. These glasses were originally designed to hold desserts Bee pollen- sourced from Richmond, can be purchased at the Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft teak secretary with pull-out shelf | crafted by Arne Vodder for Sibast, Danish MCM maker

36


AVIATION 2 oz. gin (Empress) 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur 1/4 oz. Creme de Violette 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice Garnish with brandied cherries

cypress root table available at Curated Interiors. Currently used as an entryway table, but can be flipped on its side and used as a coffee table

Glassware: gold-rimmed champagne coupes. These delicate glasses are circa 1930's and are hand-blown

37


ST. GERMAIN SPRITZ 1 oz. St. Germain (Elderflower liqueur) 1 oz. Campari 7 oz. sparkling wine such as prosecco

Mid Century Modern desk and vinyl wall. The desk is classic MCM style with the streamlined shape and tapered legs with brass feet. Pieces available at Curated Interiors

Glassware: Mid Century Modern Modern smoky grey wine goblets. These glasses are in excellent vintage condition and work great for any drink. All of the glassware is available instore and online at Curated Interiors! 38


prints

LOOKING FOR A UNIQUE GIFT IDEA?

ORDER NOW




42


pillar of family LOCAL JOURNEYS AND STORIES SHARED

THE ROAD TO A FAMILY


IVF: IN VITRO FERTILIZATION Kelcie and Dustin met at the race track where they both grew up, and after a little convincing on Dustin’s end- they quickly fell in love and started their forever. Dustin says “we are far from the perfect couple, but we support one another, are there to comfort one another, and we have each other’s back. We have been through family deaths, buying homes, different jobs, pinching pennies, and infertility. But we are stronger today than we have ever been. And we are stronger together, than apart.” Kelcie and Dustin’s IVF journey began in February 2021 when they were informed that this was their option for conceiving. The news was very hard for them to take, but after the loss of two immediate family members, they decided that this was the right path for them. They began with 20 eggs and 6 of these went on to become fertilized. Kelcie says, “normally 70% of the mature eggs are fertilized, and that was not the case in our situation.


The next stage is for the fertilized eggs to make it to day 5. The day 5 stage is called the blastocyst stage. Statistically, only 40-50% of the fertilized eggs are expected to make it to the blastocyst stage (this is where the eggs become embryos). This 5-day waiting period was the hardest and longest 5 days of our lives.” Their IVF journey has been far from seamless, but they feel so blessed to have started with 6 healthy, genetically correct, and viable embryos to transfer. On December 3rd, 2021 they transferred one perfect boy embryo and a few days later, found out that they were pregnant. However, on December 30th, they got the unbearable news that their baby had stopped growing. Kelcie says “We are fortunate enough to have 5 more embryos in the freezer (2 boys and 3 girls) that are viable for transfer. We will now begin the process to have another transfer in April 2022.”

45



The biggest misconception from their point of view is “…people believe that IVF has a 100% achievement rate. This is false. The success rate for IVF is about 40% in young couples, below the age of 35. The other misconception is since infertility is a medical condition, you would think insurance would cover treatment. This is also false. Most insurances don’t cover anything infertility related. A single IVF cycle can cost $23,000 or more depending on the protocol.” Kelcie and Dustin feel that being open about the process and involving their families has helped tremendously. Each family member was able to give Kelcie an injection that she needed to prepare her body for their embryo transfer. Kelcie brings awareness to the community by saying “when a person reaches this point, they don’t want advice or tips on how to get pregnant. The worst thing for us is hearing other people say how easy it was for them. It’s never a good idea to put your opinion in on a situation you have never dealt with and that you know nothing about. A lot of people think they are being helpful by giving tips and it actually does the opposite and leaves the person more upset. The best advice is to be there for the person and keep advice and thoughts to yourself.”

kelcie + dustin

32


EST. 1975

QUALITY CARE LARGE & SMALL ANIMALS

(540) 337 6200


Tayler and Antonio Thacker FOSTERING AND ADOPTION

SAM: What led you both to begin fostering? TAYLER: We both went into marriage knowing that we wanted a family because of his story being adopted, and because of my history, working in the education system and my mom was a camp counselor for kids when I was growing up. So I think we both went in knowing that at some point, fostering or adopting would be part of our story. Once we got settled here, and knew that we were gonna stay in Virginia, we kind of decided that we were ready to have a kid in our lives in some form or fashion. Biological children didn't come easy for us initially. We decided that fostering seemed like the next best thing since we knew that was something we wanted to do, regardless of whether we had biological kids or not. We reached out to the Department of Social Services, and talked about what that process would look like and what we needed to have done, and started lots of paperwork.

49


ANTONIO: Like Tayler said, we went into the marriage knowing we were interested in fostering and possibly adopting one day. I think we both got to the point in our marriage where our hearts were ready. We felt like our home was ready, and we wanted to have little feet puttering around, and, you know, hear “mommy and daddy.” If we weren't able at the time to have our own biological children, we felt like we would still be able to bless other children with the love that was in our hearts. Once we sat down with the social worker and heard the numbers of kids that are in the area that needed foster homes, and the numbers of foster homes that are in the area, I know that was when we went through training. They had told us that they were placing kids all the way down, almost on the border of Kentucky and Virginia, because they didn't have local homes for them. Or they were going to group homes. I think once we heard that, that really spurred the we need to do this because we have a stable place for a kid to go. We didn't know exactly what that would look like at the time. Not the stability, but how long we were going to foster, what type of fostering we wanted to do, etc. It just kind of started to fall into place. We started filling out the paperwork and did the training. And then we got pregnant with our daughter, Elli.

50


TAYLER: Yeah, while we were in training. ANTONIO: It was kind of crazy. But we both knew that regardless of the fact that we were having a biological baby, that fostering was still something that we wanted to do and something that we felt really called to. We went ahead and continued the process. We've done respite now for a little over three years. TAYLER: There's full time fostering, there's fostering to adopt, and then there's respite care and you can change your target group, depending on where you are in life. ANTONIO: We found that there was a pretty decent need for respite care as well. SAM: What is respite care? TAYLER: Respite is basically where you care for the child usually less than two weeks, but we've had longer. So, say that a foster parent in the area has a kiddo, and somebody in their family dies, and they need to go out of town for the funeral, they can call us and say, “Hey, we can't take our foster kiddo with us for whatever reason, sleeping arrangements, travel restrictions, they need to be in school, etc, etc, etc.” Then they would come stay with us. Both of us have the heart to do it full time at some point though..

51


SAM: Can you speak to the process of fostering? TAYLER: So the first step is primarily to reach out to DSS which you can find the information online for that. Then they usually will come in, sit down, and answer any questions that you have. The lady ooked at the house a little bit…nothing intrusive. And then you start the paperwork, which it's a packet of paperwork. You have to have references, and you have to have a physical. You have to go to the doctor to get a physical to foster. ANTONIO: Then we did our training, which took a month. It's not every day, though. It's once a week and Saturdays and they feed you on the Saturday training. You get to know a lot of the other trainees in your group. We have a pretty decent network. They try to prepare you to be parents for kids coming out of a wide range of circumstances.

SAM: What are some difficult parts of fostering? ANTONIO: Because the kids are bounced around so much, they will just kind connect to whoever picks them up, and you become mommy and daddy very quick. And so it's easy to love them. But it's very hard to not get overly attached in certain situations. I think, for me, that's been a very difficult thing about fostering is that you want to love them so much. But you have this uncertainty of the what situation are you sending them back into when you do say goodbye if you're not adopting them, because some of them do go back to their families, which is the end point of fostering is to give their mom and dad a chance to get back on their feet and prepared to be parents. And if they do get back on their feet, they get to be a family again, which is a great thing. But unfortunately, that doesn't always work out. So you have to be prepared for that kind of heavy side of what you're doing. But for the most part, I think you're blessed more than anything, just being able to be a part of their lives, even if it's only for a few days. We were given the opportunity to adopt one of our kids that we did respite. But we just weren't really in a place where we're ready to do that. And she did get a placement and she was adopted into a good family, thankfully. If the fear of having an emotional attachment to a child, and having to give them back at the end of the day, if that's the only thing keeping you from fostering, lean into God on that. At the end of the day, she ended up being adopted into a great family. And I've come to peace with that. Just knowing that God's got a better plan. I think we all have this tendency to be like, I know how to do this best, but just being able to lean on God and know that He can do it so much better. He has so much more love to give than we can.

52


540.943.2723 CALL OR VISIT US TODAY! waynesboro, virginia


SAM: What were some challenges throughout the process of fostering? ANTONIO: One of the biggest challenges about fostering was taking them to visitations with their parents. Especially because I remember, specifically one child that parents would not show up. But we're required to take them. So, we take them to visitation and we would take them inside. They had a neutral room where the social worker would be waiting with the parents, and we would go wait in the car, and wait for an hour. Then the mom or dad would not come, so then having to pick them up. They're really upset, or really confused. Why did mom and dad not show up? And, it's hard to not become resentful towards whoever it is who was supposed to be there. They're kids, and you don't want to see a kid get their heart broken. That's just not a fun place to be ever. So kind of picking up the pieces of these children when they are dealing with those emotions is very difficult. If they do go back to their family, you pray so much that mom and dad really do stay on their feet and they really do keep it together whatever their circumstances are. But you know, that's kind of out of our hands. You just have to trust God that He's going to take care of them.


TAYLER: They try to get you ready for every situation. But it is very difficult when a parent doesn't show up, and the kid has been let down time after time. You just kind of assure them, things didn't go your way and you're disappointed and I understand you're disappointed and you have emotions...you're allowed to have those emotions, that's healthy. You just want to just hug them, and hold them, and be there for them. You do have to let them have their emotions. ANTONIO: They tell us in training, you know, you don't talk badly about the parents, regardless of what the situation is. It's so difficult to say, “your mommy and daddy do love you. They weren't able to come today. But they're working on themselves.” And you kind of just tried to make that a positive thing, or “they’re working on themselves to be ready to be your parents and be 100% when they do come back.”

SAM: What were some rewards of fostering? TAYLER: Always an adventure.

That's the biggest reward I feel like, and knowing that you, regardless of whether it was for a weekend or night, or three weeks or three years, you provided a stable place for a kiddo that needed it. And they at least got to taste what the stability was, even if that's not what they were used to. Also, it's fun to see. I mean, we've had so many personalities in our house. We've had the wild and crazy and we had at one point, including Elli, four under the age of three in our house, which was absolutely insane. I felt like I was running a daycare. But it was so fun. And even though they were all siblings, they all had their own different personalities and their own different way of what they were doing and working through, and their own individual traumas. We've had older kiddos that were way more laid back. You never know what you're going to get. Always an adventure.


ANTONIO: For me, one of the biggest rewards of having foster kids is when they do come back, because we've had a couple that we've had multiple times, and you get to know them more and more. And so you actually formed these deeper relationships. And I mean, it goes from just talking them through maybe they had a fight at school, to Let's Play clue for the 50th night because that's what you guys love doing. So that's really rewarding just being a part of their world.

SAM: What did you find to be the biggest misconception about adoption and fostering? ANTONIO: Misconceptions about fostering, I feel like, can be broken up into three categories. You have misconceptions about the foster kids, misconceptions about the foster parents, and then misconceptions about the system as a whole. So I think one of the biggest misconceptions about biological parents is they're lazy, not motivated people that just keep making bad decisions. And a lot of times in our experience, we found that mom and dad have their own successful business and mom and dad are working. I think people don't always think of the single mom who's working three jobs to provide for her kids and then gets in a car accident. And the next of kin is a 90 year old, great aunt in Chicago, like circumstances like that. But we get kids like that, and they're not all out of alcoholic or drug or abused homes. And they're not all necessarily neglected. In some cases, the parents have something out of their control happen, and they are going to lose custody or the ability to care for their kids for the time being. In some situations like that, you get a kid who is scared because the last day they heard Mommy was in the hospital or Daddy went off an ambulance, or whatever the case was. TAYLER: I think, to add to that to that, you know, it's easy to sit back and say, well, for the parents who are into drugs, or alcohol or whatever, it's easy to sit back and say, “Well, I would never let that happen to my kid.” But we fail to realize that we all have our flaws, and that it's not so much.


ANTONIO: A lot of times, it's not that the parents aren't trying or that the parents don't love their kids more than they love, whatever the issue is, but it can be really hard for them once they fall into this pattern. And then you're adding a kid on top of it. Sometimes just having that few months away, for them to go to rehab or for them to work on their issues can completely change the trajectory of their lives. So then there are misconceptions about children. I think, again, a lot of people think a foster child is unkempt, rude, maybe with an attitude and doesn't care about school. Maybe the are, and maybe they're not the smartest or academically inclined. I think that there's a lot of misconceptions about that. And the kids we've got are some really smart kids, some very creative kids, some really cool kids. TAYLER: I was concerned. And I think some of this was hormonal, but after we had Elli, the first set of kids that were coming into our home, and because I was with a biological kid now, I was worried “are they gonna feel animosity towards her because she's with her biological mom and dad?” “Are they gonna treat her mean?” Since we've had her, absolutely every child adores her. They play with her. And they connect with her. We had one little boy that was maybe four or five. And he was like, “I like her because she smiles so much.” And I'm like, how sweet?? I think some people have biological kids and think “Oh, I could never foster because they would never feel like a part.” And that's not been the case at all. 57



Can I start with the system? I think that there is this huge misconception that these social workers just want to come in, and they want to take their kids, and they want to put them with other families and then be done with it. Our caseworkers in this area are so amazing. They're involved. We hear from our social worker, even when we don't have kids, just like hey, just calling to check up on you...how's everything going? They feel like they really know who they're placing the kids with. And I really don't feel like in our area that they take kids without having a good reason to take them. She always asks, before we hang up whenever she calls us: what kind of training do you guys want to see? What kind of support can we give you guys to help you? They love the kids, and they love their foster families. And they are just magnificent human beings. ANTONIO: I feel like people have this misconception about the foster care system that people get involved for selfish reasons. And that the system is taking kids only out of these extreme situations, you know, like out of a drug house or out of an abusive family or, and we kind of talked about that a little bit earlier, like, no, sometimes it's situations that are completely out of the parents control. But I think, yeah, people have this movie reel on their head, or middle of the night, you know, parents get arrested, and a kid just gets brought to this office and somebody randomly comes, picks them up, or drops them off. In reality, they don't like to take kids out. If they can get them back to mom and dad, that is their goal. Even if you're here fostering to adopt, and that's your goal. Our goal in the system is to get mom and dad a chance to get back on their feet, and try to let them have their family and just be a family. And so they do a really good job of focusing on that and keeping that as an ongoing goal for everyone in all the training and they are primarily kid focused. They even have programs for the older kids that are about to age out of the system, to help them get apartments and get jobs and get on their feet. Yeah, I just feel like we are blessed with a lot of resources..

SAM: How has this experience as a foster parent affected how you parent your biological child? ANTONIO: I was adopted, but we always had exchange students, foster kids, or other adoptive kids in and out of the home. So, for me, I remember having those people that weren't necessarily family around. And I just remember it didn't really matter. I have always been able to connect with people just because of that experience in my life. So with Ellie it is kind of like a cultural lesson, but also just a lesson on how to build relationships. Even if it's only for a week or a weekend, you can still have meaningful relationships. As she gets older, I would kind of like to set this pattern that our home is open to anyone who needs love, or needs a place to sleep. We want Elli to carry that kind of thought process on as she becomes an adult.

59


TAYLER: The Bible says “unto the least of these” and so that's the premise, that's who Jesus was.

TAYLER: The Bible says “unto the least of these” and so that's the premise, that's who Jesus was. That's who the character of Christ is. I feel like for us, if we're truly representing what we proclaim that we believe through our faith, then we have to show that to her firsthand. I feel like fostering and having that mindset, that we're going to do whatever we can to help whoever we can, if we have the resources, if we have the space, if we have the ability, our heart is to be able to reach out and do as much as possible with what we've been blessed with. For her to see that firsthand, so that she cultivates that giving spirit and the persona of what our faith is. We are the church, and being the church means being part of something bigger than ourselves.

60