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Joy Meadows: Bringing Joy to Foster Care

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I got the call around midnight. 

“We know your house is full, but can you just take one more for the night?” He was one year old, sitting in an agency office in downtown Kansas City, wearing only a diaper and T-shirt when my husband picked him up. I held him through the night in the midst of his cries and nightmares, and I knew he was ours to take care of. This precious child was one of a sibling group of seven children that had a roller-coaster journey of years of foster care ahead of them. Their lives opened our eyes to the pain and struggle that children in foster care go through, particularly siblings who are split apart, and we decided there had to be a better way. That was the beginning of Joy Meadows.  

Foster care is a hidden, secret struggle for children in our state. Due to confidentiality laws we can’t share the stories of trauma that brought them into care, nor the continued trauma that they experience during their time in foster care. As mothers, most of us would be outraged and indignant if we knew a child was suffering, but this hidden world of foster care is happening around us as we go through our daily routines. Children are moved multiple times, causing instability and further trauma. Siblings are rarely placed in the same home due to lack of space. Effective therapy is difficult to access due to cost, travel time and lack of awareness of case workers and caregivers. Foster children are driven hours each week for a one-hour sibling/parent visit because local foster homes can’t be found. Fun, childhood experiences such as extra-curricular activities aren’t accessible due to cost, frequent moves and difficult behaviors of children. Few positive relationships are formed with foster children due to their transient lives, further exacerbating trauma and attachment disorders. This lack of stability is compounded by the fact that most foster homes quit within ten months due to lack of support and burnout, causing more uncertainty to foster children while they are swept up in the system. 

It is the mission of Joy Meadows to provide families with community support, housing and resources, so that children impacted by foster care can find stability, healing and joy. We support caregivers so they can support children well. We make resources accessible so foster and adoptive children can find joy. Our housing program provides homes so that large sibling groups can live together. At Joy Meadows, through our therapy programs, orchard, garden, farm animals, clothing closet, extra-curricular activities and housing program, we believe that we can transform a child’s time in foster care so they can find joy in the journey to healing and home, whether “home” is reintegration with parents or adoption.

Visit to learn more about services provided and opportunities for participation.

Written by: Sarah Oberndorfer