Trinity Foster Feature: Empty Nester Gives Teen Hope and Better Future Through Adoption 

Like so many foster youth, 15-year-old Gabby was in multiple foster homes, and had a challenge with trusting adults, until she met her newest foster mom, Melinda Wood. Melinda, a single empty nester, decided to foster Gabby because she had a lot of love left in her heart and personal time after successfully raising her biological son.

According to Melinda, “What made me decide to become a foster parent was an empty nest. I only have one biological child and he graduated college, got a career, and moved out to Orange County. I still see him every Sunday, but he left me with a lot of alone time.” 

After learning about Trinity Youth Services, Melinda decided to choose the agency because she felt that she would get the help she needed to succeed. “I wanted an agency that would advocate for me. This was my first time doing anything like this and I wanted as much support as I could get. Trinity provided that for me. I wanted to adopt and felt fostering and getting to know a child that needed me as much as I needed him/her was the best way to go about it. I did not feel that I would have the energy to keep up with an infant, so I decided on an older child. Trinity’s staff worked tirelessly at helping me find my forever girl. I started fostering in my home 13 months ago. I have to tell you that we were both really excited when the court date came. It took a while to bond with her in the beginning. We actually met during the pandemic by Zoom of all things. We did these Zoom meetings for about 10 minutes every other day. Then she came for an ‘extended visit,'” explains Melinda. 

“This meant that she could visit for as long as she wanted and stay if she wanted. They didn’t want her going back and forth during the pandemic for obvious reasons. She had been in multiple foster homes and one group home over her time in foster care, so she wasn’t very trusting and that is why it took so long to bond. I really don’t think it was real in her mind until the court date. In the beginning, I was nervous, but after about two weeks together, I started to relax,” says Melinda.

At Trinity Youth Services, we strive to make the adoption process as smooth as possible for our parents by providing 24-7 support and guidance. According to Melinda, “My assigned case worker from Trinity at the time was Roomina. I was on the phone with her as well as email several times a day for the first two weeks. She was always very thoughtful and supportive as well as being my advocate when I ran into school issues. That is why I was able to relax and start being a mother to Gabby. After about 3 months, I knew I was going to keep Gabby and then it was just a matter of waiting for the court dates. That is why we were so excited when the big day finally came.” 

Although Melinda wanted to adopt a child, the journey was not always easy. “One challenge Trinity helped me overcome, was fear of the unknown child that I would get since I was new. They promised to support me 24/7, and they did that,” says Melinda. During her fostering journey, Melinda learned how to balance being a mom while learning the rules of fostering.

According to Melinda, “The most important lesson was to handle the child as if they were your own most of the time. I got way too caught up in what I can and can’t do with all the restrictions and rules, that I forgot to be a mother instead of a court appointed babysitter. Once I let go of all the worrying about what I can and can’t do, that is when Gabby and I truly started to jell. This was around the third month when I finally in my heart made the commitment that I was adopting Gabby.” 

Being a mom to Gabby has been a rewarding experience for Melinda, who strives to equip her daughter and son with knowledge and skills that will help them succeed in their daily lives. “The most rewarding part of being an adoptive mom is that I don’t have an empty nest and I have someone I can give all my love and affection to every day that appreciates it,” says Melinda.

“Some life skills I teach my children are that life is not always easy. You are constantly on a journey of ups and downs. Take the ups and cherish them when they come around. Take the downs and learn from them. You are never too old to learn and the more you learn, the stronger you become every time you hit those downs. I also teach them that life is crazy, and you have to be crazy with it. Try and laugh at least a couple of times a day. Try and see the ‘funny’ in everything.” 

As a foster-turned-adoptive mom, Melinda feels grateful to be able to provide unconditional love and support to her daughter, who has also been a blessing in her life. “I have had a special impact on this young lady, and she has had a special impact on me. To be honest, with her disabilities, I would fear for her life after she aged out of foster care. Even with the additional support provided until they are 21, she would not have made it. She needs a family who will support her all of her life and I don’t ever want an empty nest, so I am privileged she chose me back to provide this for her.” 

Some people who consider fostering or adopting, often fear experiencing challenging behaviors, but Melinda shares a more positive perspective. According to Melinda, “Every child is different and has different behaviors. This is including biological children. I know several biological children who have worse behaviors than my Gabby. Once you learn how your child tics, you adapt and learn the different things that work to deter negative behaviors. To be honest, biological children have a sense of entitlement and don’t always appreciate what parents do for them. Gabby appreciates everything I do for her including the little things because she didn’t have these things before. When she first came to stay, I think she was so terrified I would send her back that she was too well behaved. She wanted to do everything for me instead of being the child she is. Roomina at Trinity helped me help her to relax and just be a kid.” 

For those who want to foster, but are concerned about the possibility of their children being reunited with their biological parents, Melinda shares this advice: I had that fear, especially since I was doing this specifically to adopt. If you want to adopt, have Trinity work on finding you a foster child that has a good chance of adoption right out of the gate. You might still lose the child to their parents and it would be hard, but you have to keep trying until God tells you this is the one for you. Meanwhile, you gave a child who needed it at least temporarily, a roof over their head, food for their hungry tummies, and the support and love they needed at a really hard time in their life. After the pain of losing them subsides, you will be able to look back with nice thoughts that you did something good for someone else during your journey to find your forever family.” 

If you want to foster or adopt a child, and would like more information on how to become certified at Trinity Youth Services, please call 310-291-3889. You can also click here to start your journey online.  


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Princess Sarah

Princess Sarah

Princess Sarah Culberson is an African princess whose inspiring life story has touched the lives of millions around the world. After learning about Trinity Youth Services’ mission to create better futures for foster youth, she sent a very motivational message for potential and current foster parents as well as foster youth, stating, “My foster parents made such a huge impact in my life.” To hear more of Princess Sarah’s message, watch the video below. 

A renowned dancer, actress, philanthropist, educator, motivational speaker, and author, Princess Sarah was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, to an African father and a Caucasian mother. She was placed in foster care as an infant, and was adopted by a loving Caucasian family one year after her first birthday. 

Princess Sarah’s adoptive family showered her with unconditional love and support throughout her childhood, and took a very active role in her life. According to Princess Sarah, “They were just extremely checked in, saw my skills and talents and supported those and with anything that was challenging to me, they helped me figure it out and supported me as well. They noticed that I was a great dancer, athlete, that I loved acting, singing, enjoyed performing etc., and loved and supported me. 

“I didn’t like math, so my dad would help me for hours every week. They were so checked in as parents which was extraordinary. My mom wanted to make sure I didn’t always feel different, and so as a girl with all this afro hair, she learned how to braid, take care of my hair which was different, and she knew that was important for me as well. The actions they took spoke volumes. Even though elementary and middle school were not as diverse, the university where my dad was a professor was diverse with Dr. Hilluala from India, Professors from Thailand, which allowed me to be in contact with more diverse people, which I loved seeing as a child.” 

According to Princess Sarah, some of the most important things her parents taught her were “to go after my dreams. My dad loved that I loved acting. His dream was to be a performer, and he’s a scientist. He’s a neuroanatomist who teaches doctors to save lives, but he’s always loved the arts. They took me to shows which inspired me and admired how dedicated I was. It meant so much to me that they saw it, supported, and helped me cultivate it as opposed to questioning if I was going to be able to make money off of it. I was also so respected, and in turn, respected them so much. I was taught through respect. I learned respect by example.” 

Although she dearly loved her adopted family, Princess Sarah wanted to know about who she was and where she came from. With support from her adoptive parents, she found her birth father at the age of 28. In 2004, Princess Sarah and her adoptive parents traveled to Sierra Leone to meet her birth father and family. After meeting him and her African family, she learned that she was the child of a Paramount Chief, which gave her the official title of being an African Princess. 

When visiting her father and her African family, Princess Sarah learned other essential information about her ancestry. “I’ve learned that I look like my grandmother, and I look like my father. I have his eyes. I’m also part of the Mende tribe, and I’m part of a history of leaders who are in my blood who propel me forward and ancestors who do the same. I’ve learned that to be a royal family in a developing country can be extremely challenging when there is great need, and it’s still important to move forward to be the best people we can be in order to help everyone.” 

Princess Sarah

Meeting her biological father and family in Sierra Leone, and learning about her princess status gave Princess Sarah a new mission in life, and it changed her priorities.  

According to Princess Sarah, “Many things that used to stress me out have no space anymore. The things we’re working on in Sierra Leone as a family, community, and country are so much bigger than my day-to-day issues that I feel propelled forward to handle our bigger goals to clean drinking water, solar lanterns, and sustainability in the country of Sierra Leone.”

Princess Sarah did not adopt the traditional meaning of being a princess. In fact, she has used her title to enhance the world around her, especially in Sierra Leone. According to Princess Sarah, “I wasn’t interested in embracing the title for how it’s meant in the world as a whole, specifically in America, but as I started to learn about the role inside of our community in Sierra Leone, and how Princess means responsibility to me, it’s shifted me to think about my priorities and responsibility and commitment that I have to our community and family in Sierra Leone.” 

Although Princess Sarah was able to reconnect with her biological father and family, she understands the pain that some adopted children may feel when they aren’t able to have a relationship with their biological families. Her message to youth is, “Placing your child in another family is extremely challenging for birth parents, and even though it can make you feel unwanted maybe, actually it’s a selfless act that can give you to a family who can take care of you and give you what you need. I wasn’t able to meet my birth mother, but I know she is still a part of me. She passed away before I had the chance to meet her. Your birth parents are a part of you, and they’re guiding you along your journey whether you know it or not or ever need them. You’re not alone.” 

When asked what the most important needs adoptive children have, and how can their adoptive parents best support them, Princess Sarah suggests that the most important things are “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Support, guidance, and safety. Knowing that you’re there and cared about. Often, adopted children think that they’re not wanted, or something’s wrong with them, and that can make them feel like they’re not enough. Take the time to remind them that they’re enough, amazing people, and just reminding them of that can make a huge difference.” 

For parents who may want to raise biracial children, Princess Sarah provides this advice: “Have people in your community who are also biracial so the children can see themselves represented, and have people of color in your community as well. When and if your child chooses to find their biological family, some day, try your best to do work on yourself to be ok with that, and please be open to that journey with them. They only want to find a deeper meaning to themselves and it’s not meant to hurt you, even if it might feel like it.” 

A published author who’s featured in the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC radio, NPR, “Oprah and Friends” radio show, and in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, People, and Glamour, Princess Sarah has also appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, and more.  

Her memoir, A Princess Found: A Journey Through Adoption, War, and Forgiveness, contains a profound message that readers can apply to their lives. According to Princess Sarah, the main message she wants readers to learn is, “Don’t let anger and fear stop you from going after what you want. It’s so much easier to hold onto that anger, and when I let go standing in a raw and fearful place then stepped into being courageous, loving and open, I received a lot more information that helped me understand who I am. Facing that fear and stepping into it really helped me find my purpose. And sometimes, we don’t even know how those things will show up when we’re afraid, but there can be so much beauty on the other side.” 

Princess Sarah is the co-founder of the nonprofit, Sierra Leone Rising to support rebuilding education, public health, and female empowerment in Sierra Leone. According to Princess Sarah, “People can donate to sierraleonerising.org, other organizations doing work in Sierra Leone to help the country move forward after an 11-year Blood Diamond War & multiple pandemics. It takes a period of time to rebuild after all of that to restore the community, donate to organizations that you feel are good and do work in Sierra Leone,” she says.

“In Sierra Leone, we’re building a number of wells to help people in the provinces receive access to clean drinking water sources, supplying sanitary pads to women and girls to combat period poverty, and distributing solar lanterns to supply families with sustainable light sources.” 

In addition to her work in Sierra Leone, Princess Sarah is also currently working on a film with Disney and Stephanie Elaine (The First African-American Woman to Co-Produce the 2020 Oscars), an animation with singer-songwriter, producer and entrepreneur Randy Jackson, a Roblox game with Melon Development, and a TV series with Good Story Entertainment.

For more information about Princess Sarah, please visit her website or find her on Facebook or Instagram.

If you want to foster or adopt a child, please call or text Eve Powers at 310-291-3889 to learn more about how you can qualify to become a resource parent. To get started online, click here!


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Trinity Youth Services 100th Adoption

Trinity Youth Services 100th Adoption

Trinity Youth Services recently celebrated a monumental milestone for youth who need forever families. We are very proud to announce our 100th adoption! The Glinton-Holmes Family have added two new sons to their amazing family, our 100th and 101st adoptions. Since 1966, Trinity Youth Services has served over 65,000 children and families, and we are honored to give youth a fresh start with loving parents.

While our top goal is to help youth reunify with their birth families, there are times when this is not possible, or safe. In that case, we are happy to provide a child with a forever family who can take them in as their own, so that they can receive the love, nurturing, and support they need to live happier and successful lives. 

At Trinity Youth Services, our team continues to work very hard to help every child who needs a forever family, get connected with parents who are committed to their happiness, growth and stability. Jackie Jakob, Trinity Youth Services’ Director of Foster Care and Adoptions, expressed her enthusiasm for this amazing accomplishment.

“It’s such an exciting milestone for the Adoptions Program. We’ve had the pleasure of helping 100 children find their forever homes.  Our team has enjoyed working with each of our adoptive families.  It’s been extremely rewarding to know that in some small way we helped create these new families.  Congratulations to the Glinton-Holmes family for being our 100th Adoption!” 

Cher Ofstedahl, Trinity Youth Services’ CEO, says, “All of us at Trinity are more than elated to be celebrating our 100th adoption. I don’t think of it as a singular milestone, so much as 100 individual, life-changing milestones. Uniting a foster child with a forever family is amazing,” she says. “Uniting 100 foster children with forever families is beyond my wildest dreams. I am grateful to the dedicated adoption team at Trinity, the social workers, mental health professionals, and most importantly, the families who have opened their hearts and homes to the children. I am feeling humbled and honored.” 

Roomina Islam, Trinity Youth Services’ Monterey Park Foster Care Director, congratulates the Glinton-Holms Family saying, “We have observed the dedication and support this family provides to children in their care and we are so happy to be part of their journey.”

April Glinton and her husband, Maurice Holms, are one of our most dedicated adoptive parents. The couple adopted 4-year-old Keenston on April 6, 2021 (our 100th adoption) and 3-year-old Branden shortly after on May 5. The family is also planning to adopt their 2-year-old foster daughter, and are parents to their biological daughter, Marnise, who has always wanted siblings.

Caring for children has always been a passion for April. She and her husband decided to become resource parents after hearing about a friend’s experience with fostering. According to April, “She had told us about their journey as foster parents. We prayed, put some thought into it, and decided that we wanted to be foster parents. Having a preschool background, I’ve always loved working with kids. I’ve also always been told that working with children was a calling for me.”Maurice, April’s husband, is also passionate about helping youth by giving them love and support. “Every child deserves to be loved and feel secure. Trinity Youth Services has been very helpful and hands-on during our adoption process,” he says. 

After speaking with their friend and hearing about her experience, April and her husband choose Trinity Youth Services as their fostering agency. “Our friend had told us about Trinity and how pleased she was with the agency. So, I researched online and found a Trinity office that was close to where we live. I made an appointment to begin our process, and upon arrival, the staff was friendly and very welcoming. The staff was also very professional and passionate. We knew then we had made the right decision choosing Trinity,” says April. 

After becoming certified as a resource parent through Trinity Youth Services, they fostered six children. During the beginning of their fostering journey, they faced a difficult challenge. “After our first placement was reunified with family, we weren’t sure if we wanted to take another child. They let us know that it was okay to feel hurt, and if we needed some time to grieve, that was fine, too. And, for us to remember that things will be okay,” says April. 

Trinity Youth Services 100th Adoption

Due to their love for children, and wanting to make a difference, April and her husband decided to continue with fostering, and recently adopted their two boys. “The most rewarding part of being an adoptive parent, is everything,” April says. “From the moment the children were placed with us as a foster, until this very day. The greatest reward is the love that I’m giving and receiving back from our children and knowing that I’m providing my children with a good, stable home surrounded by a caring and loving family. Every step of this journey has led us to this moment,” says April. 

Many people believe adopting a child costs thousands of dollars and or is a complicated process. Trinity Youth Services provides a Foster-to-Adopt Program that supports parents, and helps them provide a forever home to a child with minimal expenses. April describes her adoption experience as, “Overall it was easy, but a long process. You definitely need to have patience and understanding, and having a good rapport with your adoption worker and attorney helps you along the way.” 

Foster and adoptive parents have a powerful and unique role, which is to teach their children life skills and help them develop qualities that will help them excel in life. According to April, “We are teaching them at the age of three and four that they must use their manners, and that friends and family are important. Also, you finish what you start. Just because something may be challenging for you, you can’t give up. Finishing is always rewarding.”

Some potential parents are concerned about dealing with a child’s behaviors, so they are hesitant to take a child into their home. Getting a strong support system in place is something that is helping April and her husband succeed as parents. According to April, “We have a great pediatrician that refers us to resources that can help our little ones. We also give our best effort to take classes that help us help them, and use positive reinforcements. We also recommend being very patient and understanding of your child’s needs.  Make sure to utilize your resources, and find yourself a support group.” 

If you love children, and love the idea of fostering, but are afraid of becoming too attached, April says, “Being a foster parent isn’t easy, but being a child in the foster system is harder. That fear as a parent that your foster children could be reunified with their family doesn’t go away, or doesn’t get easier. I know taking a child into your home, whether it’s for a short time or long-term and having to say goodbye is going to be painful for you and them,” she says.

“Just know that you are doing a good service of taking in a child that needs you and providing them a safe and loving home. Try not to let the fear consume you because it can take away your full potential of love and nurturing you can provide. That is why it’s important you have a clear understanding of fostering, and the reward, which is knowing that you are giving a child a head start in life.” 

If you are interested in fostering or adopting, click here to get started. To talk with our helpful staff, call 888.346.9645 or email clopez@trinityys.org. Join us in creating a better future for children and families!


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Photography by Kirstie Rickert

Barry FarmerBarry Farmer once believed that he would live a regular life, but at the tender age of 20, he started an unforgettable journey that would set him on a course that would forever change his life.  

I wanted to live a peaceful, simple life and do the right thing. I was looking forward to becoming a trucker, so I picked up an employment guide. As I was reading through the pages, I saw an advertisement to become a foster parent. To qualify, you had to be 18 yearsold. Since I was already working with kids, and I had already lived it by being in kinship care, I thought on it, and decided to make the call,” says Barry. 

Although Barry didn’t know what to expect, he was passionate about making a difference. He decided to go through the process of becoming a certified foster parent. “They set up the interview and I met the director of the agency. didn’t think she would take me seriously, but she did, and I had a great interview. It took a while to get my first placement, but I kept my license active,” says Barry.  

Barry’s first placement was a 16-year-old-boy from a group home. Barry recalls, “He was labeled by the agency as being difficultbut we were able to bond and he started calling me ‘Dad.’ He was eventually placed in another home because living in the inner city where I was living, wasn’t a good fit for him. 

Having his first experience as a single foster father made Barry even more determined to help youth and provide stability for them. One month later, he received a call regarding a 7-year-old boy who needed placement. Barry was excited to open his home to another child, but was shocked when his child was different than he expected.  

According to Barry, “I was looking for a black kid, but when I got there and walked up to the table, I saw a white kid. I immediately thought, ‘this can’t be the right table.’ But it was. The social worker said he needed to be in a home by himself. I decided to take him in as my own child. I had godsons who came over a lot, so I brought them over to meet him. He was elated to see kids and they got along well. He was never violent or had any behaviors that were not typical of an 8-year-old. He’s now 18 years old, and is one of my adoptive sons.”

Although Barry never intended to adopt, and was committed to sending youth back home with their families after they became stablehe found himself open to the idea after learning it was possible through foster care. When asked if he had any obstacles or challenges about being a single, African American man raising Caucasian boys, he stated, “It’s surprising, but no. I have not had any obstacles.”

“I often talk to other foster parents who are raising children of different races, and they have experienced racial tensions. But when my kids and I go on road trips, visit water parks, or are in public, I have never had anyone approach me, and say, ‘Where did you get them from?'”

Being a single foster-turned-adoptive-father has many perks, according to Barry. What he loves most are the experiences he’s shared with his children, and being their consistent father figure for the last 10 years. He also appreciates having the ability to provide his sons with important life lessons, such as, there are natural consequences of poor choices. He tells his sons that he can’t pull them from the fires they create and that they will work hard and make mistakes. 

What Barry loves most about fostering or adopting teens is that there are a lot of firsts. “You can teach them how to drive, take them on a plane, or do other things they’ve never experienced. Unlike younger kids, you can get an honest reaction from them about the things they like or don’t like. So, even though it takes time to build trust and bond with older childrenthey can at least tell you why things aren’t working,” says Barry. 

For men who want to foster, but aren’t sure if it’s right for them, Barry says, “Just do it. Figure out your routine and see if your job is flexible. You can do it if you have a village behind you. I rarely got help from others, because I didn’t want my children to think I wasn’t coming back for them. My younger son once thought that if I had someone else watch him, I wasn’t coming back to get him,” says Barry. 

One of Barry’s biggest determinations for being a successful foster father, was thinking, What would your son think?” He says he used to be a guy who was going nowhere and was working a regular job. According to Barry, “Someone told me that was beyond working every day for someone else because I had talent. They also told me to stop settling for the clouds and reach for the stars.” Barry did just that, and is now a very successful father. Some of his accomplishments include being the spokesman for Adopt Us Kids, foster care adoption advocate, speaker, mentor, host of The Barry Farmer Morning Show with Sharon Lizzy a nationally syndicated radio show based out of Richmond Virginia and The Foster Care & Adoption Life Talk Web Series, as well as the creator and administrator of one of the largest online support group for foster care and adoptive families. With his show, Barry enjoys connecting with various individuals from across the country, giving them a platform to share their stories and life’s work. 

To Barry, 2021 is the year of growth-and is the re-launch of 2020 dreams. Barry’s goals for 2021 is to expand his mission by advocating for older kids. He wants to use his platform to make people aware of the kids who are waiting, so that they will get a chance to find loving homes and live better lives. For more information about Barry Farmer, visit www.barryfarmer.com/  

If you want to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please schedule a virtual Foster Care Orientation, by calling 909-825-5588 Ext. 230, or by sending an email to epowers@TrinityYS.org. 


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

ISFC

ISFC

Although there is a very high need for traditional foster and adoptive families throughout Southern California, there is an even bigger need for Intensive Services Foster Care Parents. Foster youth who experience physical or emotional trauma are often labeled as ‘troublemakers,’ due to their coping mechanisms. The truth is, unresolved pain from experiencing abandonment, loss, and abuse cause some children to act out and engage in behaviors that don’t serve them. 

In an effort to help at-risk youth receive the support and guidance they need to heal and live successful lives, Trinity Youth Services, an accredited, award-winning Foster Care and Adoptions Agency, established an Intensive Services Foster Care Program (ISFCP). One major benefit of this program is that foster youth who need extra care are able to live in a loving family-based setting, which will help them feel more secure, experience a sense of belonging, and receive extended hands-on support and redirection.  

According to Jackie Jakob, Trinity Youth Services Director of Foster Care and Adoptions, “Trinity Youth Services first implemented the ISFC program to assist our experienced resource parents with serving youth that required more services than the traditional foster care model offered. Trinity Youth Services is designed to offer a stable, normalized living environment in order to help youth thrive in a family-based setting.  

Youth receive hands-on guidance from caring, supportive team of professionals that includes therapists, support counselors, and social workers who utilize trauma-informed practices. Resource parents also work very closely with the team to help each child achieve progress in their mental health and positive behaviors.” 

Children in the ISFC program at Trinity Youth Services are flourishing due to the combined effort and care they receive from therapists, support counselors, social workers as well as their foster families. Youth learn how to regulate their emotions and behaviors in positive ways, model love, and develop healthy attachments to caregivers.   

Being an ISFC Foster Care Resource Parent can be a very rewarding experience. According to Trinity Youth Services ISFC Resource Parent, Alice Brown, There are a lot of children who don’t get that last chance before they go to a group home.  No matter what challenge presents itself, you can always lead the way to a brighter future. Don’t take anything personal. All they need is a chance and for someone to not give up on them.”  

To become an Intensive Services Foster Care Parent, or to receive additional information, please call Eve Powers at 909-825-5588 ext. 230, or send an email to epowers@TrinityYS.org. Click here for more information about Trinity Youth Services’ programs. 


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Goodloe Family

November 21, 2020 was a special day for the Goodloe Family. Resource parents Nakasheema and Jonathan have opened their hearts and their home to foster children and on Adoption Day 2020, adopted 2-year-old Ethan and 3-year-old Baily.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adoption finalizations have been a little more tricky, but not impossible. The courts have been conducting adoptions over video conference for the safety of all involved. The Goodloe’s felt like celebrities while their adoption was being filmed by the local news on KTLA 5. We also sat down with Nakasheema and Jonathan to celebrate their growing family. Hear their inspiring story in the video above.

“I would encourage anybody, if you have the opportunity to change a child’s life, I would adopt and foster,” Nakasheema said. “You’re going to be blessed at the end just opening your home to a child and the love you give them.”

Jonathan emphasized the importance of nurturing children in need of a loving home. Kakasheema added, “There are homes that need to be opened to give these kids the love and undivided attention that they need.”

If you are interested in opening your heart and home to a child in need, contact Trinity Youth Services at epowers@TrinityYS.org or 888-346-9645 to begin your own foster or adoption story.


Jenelle PhillipsDirector of Development
Jenelle’s role is to identify and access resources for youth in our care. She is also responsible for maintaining a distinctive look and voice for Trinity through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as an award-winning graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at California State University Fullerton. Jenelle is very involved in the community and is active in her church.

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Receiving unconditional love from a supportive family changes an abandoned child’s life forever. At Trinity Youth Services, adoptions are always special times when we celebrate the union of a family and their new child. Helping a child in need connect with their forever family is always a joyous occasion! We are thrilled to announce the adorable new addition to the Ramirez family!

The Ramirez family fell in love with one-and-a-half-year-old Eddie, a happy, healthy and energetic baby boy. On adoption day, Hector, Eddie’s adoptive father, revealed that he was happy and was almost ready to cry. The close-knit family was all smiles during the adoption proceeding, Eddie was very active, smiling and playing with his other family members, including an aunt who provided him with a lot of affection and attention.

Hailing from Riverside, the Ramirezes are a loving couple who have been fostering for three years. They decided to become resource parents after witnessing a close family member’s positive experiences with foster care. “My sister adopted her foster child, and he ended up being a good kid,” Hector explained.

With love and excitement beaming from his eyes, Hector, when asked about the advice he’d give to those considering fostering or adopting, he answered, “I’d recommend babysitting, reading a couple of books to know what to expect long term. It’s pretty much instinct, I think. When you have your first child, you don’t have books that train you on how to be a parent, but you learn as you go.”

foster family

After the court hearing, the Ramirez family cried tears of joy. Hector stated that he was very grateful that he and his family had finally made it through the adoption process. He also revealed how he felt about his adoption experience with Trinity.

“We loved it. They are great people. They work with us. If we have any questions, they’re there to answer them. It’s been perfect. Our social worker has been great. We haven’t had any bad experiences, just a good experience. If you love kids, it’s good to be a foster parent and adopt. If you enjoy kids, adoption is perfect for you,” Hector said.

It’s clear that the Ramirezes have a lot of love in their hearts for children. They are planning to adopt their other foster child in the near future. For more information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call 888.346.9645 or email info@trinityys.org.


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California. Email: fedwards@trinityys.org | Phone: (888) 346-9645

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Jack and Kendrena Fuller didn’t lose hope when their doctor told them they couldn’t have children. The couple, who live in Redlands, CA, decided to do something positive with their circumstances. In 2015, the Fullers decided to become foster parents.

Jackson was placed with them first, a hands-on, smart child who continues to wow the Fullers with his ability to be a fast learner. Then came Elyn, a smiley girl whose joy is to make others smile. Both were just a few weeks old when they came into Jack and Kendrena’s lives. Jackson, now 2, and Elyn, just a little over a year old, are officially Fullers.

“There was a hole for us and they filled it,” Jack said. Kendrena added that she would encourage others to foster-adopt. “It’s an amazing experience and a fulfilling feeling,” she said.

Officially Fullers

The whole family was present on the day of the adoption hearing and has been supportive of Jack and Kendrena’s foster-adopt journey from the beginning. “They love the children as much as we do,” Jack said. Family members towed balloons, signs and toys for the children, celebrating and cheering on the growing family.

The day was an exciting one for the Fullers. Kendrena described it as “amazing” and Jack said it was also a relief to officially be the children’s parents. However, the Fuller’s story doesn’t end here. Jack and Kendrena are in the process of adopting Jackson’s biological little sister who is just four months old. “They called us from the hospital. We had about five minutes to decide and we went for it,” Kendrena said. “We’re so glad, she’s a sweet girl.”

Watch for our next blog on the Fuller family as we continue the journey from foster care to adoption. If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call us at 888-346-9645 or email info@trinityys.org. You also may begin the process right now by filling out an inquiry form by clicking here.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle RenschMarketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


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Ka’Tai’Lin (5), Q’iyonna (7) and Ke’ontae (9) spent over 4 years in adoptive foster care. Finally on June 8, 2017, the children found their forever family.

Tesia Weaver became a foster parent because she believed it “needed to be done. There are so many children in the world who need help. It just needed to be done,” she said. She began by fostering Q’iyonna.

Tesia saw Q’iyonna’s brother waiting for her after school, “They hugged and I knew they needed to be together,” she said. She contacted their social worker and asked what it would take to keep them together. Tesia was informed that Q’iyonna didn’t have just one brother, but two and in order to keep them together, Tesia was asked if she would consider adopting.

She knew the children not only needed each other, but they needed her in order to keep them together. She rose to the occasion and decided to adopt all three children. When they heard they would be reunited, “they were so excited,” Tesia said. “Q’iyonna was very excited when she heard her brothers were coming to live with us.”

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On the day of the adoption, Tesia explained she was feeling a multitude of emotions, including “excited and overwhelmed,” she said. “It has been a long time coming. We’re finally here! We’re all excited and happy to be here.” There have been challenges along the way including helping the children understand the steps that must be taken and comforting them with reassurance that they do in fact have a family.

Tesia has found it a challenge “explaining to the children it’s almost here, when it takes a few years. It’s a process,” she said. Ke’ontae was teased at school for being a foster child, but Tesia made sure to reinforce to him that he is part of a family and has a loving home.

Throughout the process, Tesia had the support of her mother, two young adult children and her church. The family has utilized counseling provided by their church and their pastor, Dwayne Jones, has stepped up to be a positive and supportive influence in the children’s lives. The children help at the church with small tasks and Pastor Jones recently taught Ke’ontae how to play the drums.

Their pastor attended the adoption for moral support and commented that he is “happy for them. They have been looking forward to this for a long time.”

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As they waited for their hearing, the children stood out from others, playing with math flash cards, quietly reading, and reading to each other. “The children are very smart,” Pastor Jones said.

Tesia’s mother began looking through photos on her phone of the children since the time they were placed with the family. She reminisced, shared stories and giggled at the sweet things the children had done and all the things they have accomplished as a family leading up to this day. During the hearing, the children’s new “official” grandma was so moved with emotion that, at the end, in tears, she embraced the children.

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Tesia looked proud of her growing family as she sat down with the children at the judge’s podium, asking the boys to kindly “sit up straight, please,” to which the children promptly complied, remembering their manners.

To anyone considering adopting or foster parenting, Tesia says, “go for it. There is a feeling of completion for all and the children no longer feel abandoned.”

If you are interested in fostering or adopting like Tesia, call 888-346-9645 or email info@trinityys.org today.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


Brenes Adoption

Brother and sister, Cesar (13) and Betzaida (12), were placed into foster care eight years ago. They were detained from their birth mother, placed into the care of their older sister, then were also removed from her care. With their father deceased and no other family to provide them the care they needed, Trinity Youth Services began a search for a loving forever family. Three years ago, they were placed with resource parents, Maria De La Torre and Francisco Brenes.

“Ever since the children were placed in our home, they asked to be adopted,” Maria said. Francisco and Maria didn’t need much convincing. They were happy to grant the children their wish of becoming a family.

“They didn’t have anyone to care for them. They didn’t have a stable home,” Maria said, and on May 4, 2017 the children legally became the children of Maria and Francisco. “Today, I feel hope that everything is going to be ok and happy.”

As they waited in the lobby for their adoption court hearing, Cesar said he was, “feeling good about today,” to which his sister nodded in agreement.

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Francisco, Maria and the children had been waiting with anticipation for their adoption. “There was a lot leading up to this day and now everything is coming into place,” Maria said, explaining that it was well worth it.

In the hearing, the family signed paperwork, were explained their rights as a family, and were proclaimed a legally recognized family with all cherished responsibilities and benefits. Maria and Francisco hopped up to give their new family members great-big bear hugs. The children understood the seriousness of the day and once the judge made it official, they began to smile from ear to ear. A sense of relief washed over their faces knowing they now officially belong to a family.

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Francisco and Maria look forward to encouraging their children in their interests and schoolwork, Cesar with his soccer and “Betzy” with her love for art and animals. “They love outdoor activities,” Maria said.

The Brenes family also foster a 3-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, they are parents to children in their 30s and are grandparents to a 4-year-old little girl. Maria encourages others to foster and adopt. She is currently convincing her daughter of how rewarding it can be to care for a child whose greatest wish is to belong to a loving family.

Francisco

If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact Trinity Youth Services to make a child’s wish for a family come true: 888.346.9645 or info@trinityys.org.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


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