CSSW Feature Stories
After months of viewing the MARE site, my husband and I finally found the little boy we hoped would be ours.
We met Michael in January 2012 (Ironically my husband’s name is Michael too), and we knew immediately that he was the one we had been searching for, and that he would fit perfectly with our family.
In December 2012, after many short and extended visits, Michael was legally adopted. This was one of the happiest days of all of our lives. Once Michael was ours, we could now get him the help that he was so desperately seeking.
Prior to our adoption, Michael had been placed in approximately fourteen different foster homes. When we met him, he was in a home for boys. Michael had severe emotional disabilities from years of not having someone to love him or a place he could call home.
Michael is now 10 years old, and doing very well both physically and mentally. From a child who was underweight, 1½ – 2 years behind in school, and never really felt love from anyone, Michael is now thriving. He is at a healthy weight, bringing home B’s in school, participating in karate, baseball and Boy Scouts. We have been truly blessed and have nothing but thanks and gratitude for everyone at Catholic Social Services, especially Laura Smith, for helping us find our amazing son.
My husband Lyle and I decided that this would be our last inquiry through the MARE website into Waiting Child Adoption. If this did not provide a match, we would move on and find contentment in being an aunt and uncle.
Out of 40 prospective families, we were chosen to connect with LaVell and Ajshia. We were overwhelmed with excitement, yet scared at the same time. Meeting the foster parents went really well. The day to meet LaVell and Ajshia came soon after. When they first entered the room, I was frightened and could not turn around to look at them: what if they didn’t like me? The moment I did turn around, I fell in love. I knew immediately that they were meant to be our children.
The adoption was finalized on December 20, 2012. It was one of the happiest days of our lives. Now, almost a year later, that day seems like an eternity ago. LaVell is thriving in school and participates in gymnastics and flag football. Ajshia is also succeeding in school and participates in tap dance and gymnastics. Our family is complete. The road isn’t always smooth, but the bumps along the way are more than worth it! We cannot imagine life without them.
The Frohriep Family Continues to Grow in Love
It has been three years since Cindy and Bill Frohreip along with their son Aiden adopted triplets Andrew, Mark and Luke through Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County; and life is good.
The couple had always dreamed of having a large family. “Amazing — is the number one word that comes to mind”, says Bill, about a dream come true.
The triplets are all big, happy and healthy boys. Each has a distinct personality with every boy’s unique combination of charm and cunning.
Andrew is the first to try new things and sometimes is a little sneaky. Luke is more emotional and knows just how to antagonize his brothers. Mark is the most affectionate and the most stubborn. Aiden, now eight, is the extraordinary big brother. At first, the Frohrieps were worried about how adopting triplets would affect Aiden, but he is proud of his important role. He loves having them around and hates to be away for too long — he misses them too much.
Bill’s job requires him to travel every week, so superwoman Cindy holds everything together at home. With four active,
creative boys, she doesn’t get a lot of down time. Everyday tasks like doctor appointments and haircuts can take hours, but as business and service staff get to know the boys, they work out ways to accommodate them to make it easier. And the family has been astonished at the amount of food, diapers and general necessities needed on hand at all times. But with a welcoming extended family of support — grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins — the blessings are many as well.
To learn more about adoptive services at Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, please visit our website at www.csswashtenaw.org or call 734.971.9781, ext. 322.
RENEW (Reflectively Embracing Nonviolence through Education for Women) is a support group program for women who have previously used force in their relationships. RENEW offers the opportunity to heal from the past as they explore violence-free choices for the future. Sabrina’s story is an example of how RENEW helps women work toward violence free lives.
Sabrina relocated to Michigan with assistance from a legal aid agency and a battered women’s shelter in a southern state. Staff from both agencies feared that Sabrina’s husband, Paul, would kill Sabrina given his threats and previous actions against her. Sending Sabrina out of state to be with her family, without Paul’s knowledge, seemed to be the safest alternative.
Once Sabrina returned to Michigan, she found her way to RENEW.
When Sabrina first enrolled in RENEW, she saw herself as a “perpetrator,” only identifying with the actions she had used to navigate her abusive relationship with Paul. Over time, Sabrina grew to understand the complex, gender-specific dynamics of domestic violence.
She also began to heal.
As Sabrina engaged in the healing process, she recognized that the shame she felt for using force had overshadowed her extensive history as a domestic violence survivor. Sabrina began to work on who she wanted to be, how she wanted to live, and coming to terms with the trauma from her past.
While participating in RENEW, Sabrina’s family told Paul how to contact her, as they believed “a husband should be with his wife.” Sabrina was undaunted. She remained focused on improving her circumstances and finishing her education. Sabrina just completed a year studying in Europe, and is now a senior in college. She is “giving back” to RENEW in diverse ways, including peer facilitating groups and co-training with RENEW staff. Sabrina states that, for her, “RENEW is a healing place that gave me what I needed to move forward in my life.”
Thanks to your support, we can continue to change lives, like Sabrina’s, one person at a time.