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Foster children find forever home in East Tennessee

October 8, 2010

Roma, left, in black, with Robby, Youth Villages Adoption Specialist Kelly Mullins, Courtney and Cosell. Pictured also is Rhiannon.

Courtney is quick to offer welcome smiles that melt your heart each time.

She’s curious, and asks a lot of questions. Robby, her older brother, is a little different.

He’s more of a character, a ham, who plays football.

Both have come a long way with foster parents Roma and Cosell. Two years ago, Robby and Courtney were only supposed to stay the weekend, but recently signed an intent to adopt with Roma and Cosell.

“Cosell and I weren’t interested in adoption and weren’t going to, but the bond got stronger,” Roma said. “I think it takes two years to really feel family – they fit really well here, and we just love them so much.”

Adoption through Youth Villages
In Tennessee, the Youth Villages adoption program partners with the state of Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services to find permanent homes for the children in our care who have adoption as a goal. In the other states we serve, our counselors work with state officials to facilitate adoption for children who can not return to their birth families. Learn more at

Roma was a foster parent before meeting Cosell, and she said he took some convincing to commit to being a foster parent. He agreed to Parents as Tender Healers foster parenting classes, but it was a little boy at their church who convinced Cosell he had a good way with children.

“I told Cosell all the time he was good with children,” Roma said. “But one day we were at church and this little boy at the opposite end of the row walked over and put his head on Cosell’s knee. Cosell picked him up and he sat there for the rest of the sermon. After the service, the boy’s father came up and told us his son never lets anyone hold him. I think he just knew Cosell was a good person.”

A few days later, they welcomed Josh, their first foster child. He still checks in with them periodically. “He knows he has a place to come lay his head whenever he needs to,” Roma said.

The family recently moved into a new home. They enjoy hosting extended family, friends and former foster children many weekends.

“We love Robby and Courtney unconditionally, and we believe no one can love them like we can. We’re happy they’re going to officially be permanent members of our family,” Cosell said. “There are children near all of us who need a forever home, a home that is safe, stable and loving. But you have to put yourself out there and help.”

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