These past few months have certainly been unprecedented. We have all experienced stress, anxiety, change, and turmoil as individuals and as a community. We have felt all of that, and more, here at St. Vincent Catholic Charities. But we must go on. We must continue to provide essential, life-changing services to those in our community.
While we are hopeful that in the coming months we will be able to be out and celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with those we love, the future still remain uncertain. In this time of need and isolation, we ask that you consider making a gift in honor of your mother, father, or any person who has inspired you.
Here at STVCC we have the privilege of helping so many children and families on their healing journeys; the privilege to work with both biological families and foster families, like Melissa Herschleb’s.
Melissa and her husband started their journey out of state by attending an orientation at another agency, with the intention of adopting a child. They left in tears, feeling scared and overwhelmed. But a few years later, after moving to Michigan, they felt their hearts open up to adoption again after hearing about a friend’s experience with STVCC. They attended one of our orientations and, this time, left feeling called toward foster care.
Melissa said she simply wanted to help – to help children in their time of need, to help parents to become better parents, and to help families become stronger. And she did just that from her very first placement, when 2 year old, Anna, and 11 day old, Sophie, came to stay with her family. “It was crazy, and hard, and fun,” says Melissa, “But it was an awesome experience.”
During the girls’ stay with the Herschleb’s, Melissa knew they needed to be with Angie, their birth mother, and worked hard with STVCC and Angie to make that happen. Melissa shared that she wholeheartedly believes that “reunification makes a huge difference.”
“One of the things I love about STVCC is you meet in the lobby and we communicate, you get to know the birth parents. She was such an awesome person that knew what needed to be done, and was doing everything she could. She was doing all the right things to get her kids back.”
Melissa also told us that she believes it’s very important that the kids see this communication and mutual support, “We were making something good happen.” You can be part of that support, and make good things happen through STVCC with a gift in honor of a special parent in your life, too.
With the help of STVCC’s Child Welfare staff and Melissa, Angie got both of her daughters back in her care. Melissa continues to see the girls and their mother. “We have had many playdates and celebrated birthdays together! I didn’t just foster those girls, I loved that family.”
Since Anna and Sophie left the Herschleb family to continue their life with their mother, the Herschleb’s have provided respite for other foster families, have fostered a young boy, and currently are caring for a 4 month old boy. “There are highs and lows, but I’ve learned the most important thing is giving parents some grace. They are trying.”
With your donation, you will help healthy, strong families come together and stay together through all of our programs including adoption and foster care, our Children’s Home, the Immigration Law Clinic, refugee services, and counseling and mental health services. With the unexpected challenges we’ve faced because of COVID-19, we need your help today, more than ever.
I hope you and your family are safe and well during this time of distancing, whether you are together now, or waiting to celebrate being together. Please keep those families who experience separation for many reasons in your prayers always.
With a Grateful Heart,
Andrea S. Seyka
Chief Executive Officer