Writing a new chapter:Finding family through foster care

Life is not always a perfect fairy tale, but you can always write a new chapter and change your life, your family’s life or a child’s life.
Arla and Monte Vavra, Wichita area parents, did just that by following a unique path that began with adoption, then fostering and back again. They adopted two daughters who were three and five when they permanently joined the Vavra family. Nearly a decade later, it became clear that the girls’ life in foster care inspired a whole new chapter in the lives of the Vavra family after their daughter saw a commercial for foster families on television.

“She told me she wanted to help kids like people had helped her,” said Arla. The Vavras felt as long as the kids would be in a safe place it would be worth the effort and began the training and licensing process. Many children have passed through their doors since.
“We try to show the children what it’s like to live in a regular family,” said Arla. “They get to have healthy food everyday and a warm, clean place to sleep at night. They learn that kids make mistakes and that consequences don’t involve getting beaten or bruised.” When a child reintegrates with the birth family or moves to a different resource
home, it’s always tough for the Vavras, foster parents with Youthville, a nonprofit child welfare agency. “We get attached to the kids,” said Arla. “But it means that you have formed a bond of trust with the child. What they need to know is that you love them and
want the best for them.”

The Vavras recently adopted two more children in their care who were not able to be returned home, and continue to be foster parents for many more kids. There are many caring foster and
adoptive homes across Wichita just like the Vavras. May is National Foster Care Appreciation Month and these parents deserve a big “thank you” for their dedication to creating happy endings in the lives of children in need! Youthville, one of the largest nonprofit
child welfare agencies in Kansas, is desperately in need of more loving families to help care for teens, sibling groups and special needs youth. To find out more, informational meetings are held every Thursday at 6pm. To attend, call 316.529.9100 ext. 6194 or email info@youthville.org. For information on all Youthville services, visit www. youthville.org.

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