An­der­son, Creech named county foster par­ents of the year

Same sex cou­ple took in two trou­bled boys, helped them over­come dif­fi­cul­ties

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIFFANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

The Charles County Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices re­cently an­nounced its first ever same gen­der cou­ple as Charles County’s 2016 Foster Par­ents of the Year.

Ac­cord­ing to so­cial ser­vices, Wal­dorf res­i­dents Calvin An­der­son and Corey Creech have poured un­end­ing love into rais­ing two chil­dren, Chris­tian Smith, 10, and Caleb Smith, 9, who were once

ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ma­jor dif­fi­cul­ties in their lives.

Lolita Gleaton, a so­cial worker with the depart­ment, said she nom­i­nated Creech and An­der­son for the 2016 Foster Par­ents of the Year Award be­cause they have con­sis­tently gone above and be­yond what is ex­pected for the two boys whom they have fos­tered for two years.

“The chil­dren have had nu­mer­ous chal­lenges but Creech and An­der­son never gave up,” Gleaton said. “They just kept work­ing to make sure that the chil­dren were in ther­apy, main­tained spe­cial di­ets and kept them in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. Corey was the coach of the foot­ball team that the chil­dren were on and they also took the chil­dren on a cruise. They have just gone above and be­yond for these two boys.”

Upon en­ter­ing their home at the be­gin­ning of foster care, the chil­dren dis­played com­plex be­hav­iors.

“The boys were very meek and mild ... [they had] night ter­rors and they had re­ally bad skin, but now it’s like

night and day. Even their teach­ers at school can see the ma­jor dif­fer­ence,” Gleaton said. “An­der­son and Creech pro­vided a safe, sta­ble, nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment, and the chil­dren be­gan to thrive in aca­demic suc­cess and con­fi­dence.”

The chil­dren have come a long way due to Creech and An­der­son mak­ing the chil­dren a part of their fam­ily, she said. Gleaton said this is her first time see­ing foster par­ents take two older chil­dren on a cruise and the chil­dren told her it was the best time that they have ever had in their lives.

“The most re­ward­ing part is see­ing the kids now speak up for them­selves and have a voice of their own,” Creech said. “In the be­gin­ning they were ner­vous and afraid, they had night ter­rors and were mal­nour­ished when we got them.”

“The chil­dren are now em­pow­ered,” Gleaton said.

Creech and An­der­son have been to­gether for al­most 16 years and have fos­tered a to­tal of three foster chil­dren. Creech pre­vi­ously served in the mil­i­tary for six years and said that he and his hus­band knew they wanted to be par­ents some­day. They both have al­ways wanted a big fam­ily and al­though

it was a hard bat­tle to com­plete the process, they were ap­proved to be foster par­ents in 2013.

Creech said he and his hus­band teach Chris­tian and Caleb var­i­ous youth ac­tiv­i­ties as well as re­spon­si­bil­ity, how to be or­ga­nized, po­lite and re­spect­ful, while in­still­ing val­ues that brings them all to­gether as a fam­ily.

Both Creech and An­der­son said it felt great to be the first ever same gen­der cou­ple to win the foster par­ents of the year award and to pi­o­neer it as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of

the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

“This is a big deal in our LGBTQ com­mu­nity be­cause we are lead­ing the way and get­ting rid of any stig­mas,” An­der­son said.

Both foster par­ents said the dras­tic turn around of the chil­dren’s lives is noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle.

“The recog­ni­tion and the award is nice to have, granted the true vic­tory comes in help­ing to change the lives of the chil­dren who we con­sider as a part of our fam­ily,” Creech said.

Gleaton said that hon­or­ing

Creech and An­der­son with the award shows that the foster care sys­tem has be­come more pro­gres­sive and more in­clu­sive be­cause all chil­dren need love and a fam­ily. She said fam­i­lies look dif­fer­ent but chil­dren can thrive in any sit­u­a­tion where par­ents are willing to be nur­tur­ing, open their homes and their hearts and that’s what these par­tic­u­lar par­ents have done.

“Be­com­ing a foster par­ent has taught me that there is a greater need for foster par­ents and that chil­dren come in all shapes and sizes and with all dif­fer­ent prob­lems in the foster care sys­tem,” An­der­son said. “It has also taught me to value the lives of the chil­dren who have been for­got­ten in the foster care sys­tem due to lack of foster par­ents and they need help,” An­der­son said.

Creech and An­der­son found out on Mon­day that they have won their case to adopt Chris­tian and Caleb. They plan to con­tinue to grow their lov­ing fam­ily and foster even more chil­dren.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Metropoli­tan Wash­ing­ton Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments hon­ored Wal­dorf res­i­dents, Calvin An­der­son and Corey Creech, hold­ing the “of­fi­cial ci­ta­tion” given to them by the Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers as Charles County’s 2016 Foster Par­ents of the Year.

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