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First time’s a charm: Foster parents adopt brothers Ethan and Levi

April 30, 2012

Levi (left) and his brother, Ethan

Levi does quite a bit of the talking.

Energetic and animated, Levi has made his new house a home.

He’s 2, almost 3, and loves his older brother, Ethan, 14.

The two boys were the first foster children for Christy and Michael. Ethan came first in March 2010 and Levi in February of 2011. The couple adopted both in December.

Ethan had some difficulty in previous foster homes and disrupted. But something changed when he went to Christy and Michael’s home.

They’re more relaxed, and it put Ethan in a good frame of mind. After a few months at the home, Ethan came out of his shell.

“He was very shy in the beginning,” Christy said. “His previous home had five foster kids there. I think he needed a home where there were fewer children, and by the summer, he’d changed.”

He still has moments as any teenager would, but Michael, a man of few words, described Ethan succinctly, and somewhat jokingly:

“He’s a good kid most of the time.”

Ethan plans to participate in wrestling, and has always been active in school. And whether it is clothing, shoes, or running the television, Levi insists upon doing it himself. Both have extended family through Christy and Michael, who accept the children also as part of the family.

Ethan first brought up adoption.

“We just fell in love with Ethan,” Christy said. “Our initial goal was to be foster parents and then potentially adopt.”

“They were nice to me,” Ethan said. “At first I had my guard up, but I like it here.”
The couple talked together about Ethan and Levi, and decided to pursue adoption. The kids also stay in contact with an older brother who has aged out of foster care.

“We’d gone through the foster parenting classes and had been certified about a month,” Christy said. “We were fortunate that all of it worked out.”

Christy said they’d initially narrowed the choice down to two agencies and decided on Youth Villages after speaking with staff and learning about the support Youth Villages provides. In Tennessee, the Youth Villages adoption program partners with the state Department of Children’s Services to find permanent homes for the children in our care who have adoption as a goal. 

Youth Villages offers an array of training, support and assistance to potential adoptive parents. Many adoptive parents also are eligible for continuing adoption subsidies from the state.

“I think back to everything before, and it’s almost like it’s always been this way,” Christy said. “If you have the room and you like kids, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to share a good home with someone who needs one.”

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