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Those who foster are heroes

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Although NBC’s “This is Us” is a fictional account of a family set today and in the past, it’s spotlighting the real-life need of foster youth who immediately need a safe home to land.

The social service worker on “This is Us” relied on the generosity and kindness of characters Beth and Randall Pearson to take in a quiet, withdrawn teen, Deja. So too is Koinonia Family Services in Loomis hoping that area adults will graciously open up their homes to youth going through family emergencies to temporarily care for them.

Koinonia Family Services, headquartered in Loomis, is a foster and adoption agency operating for 35 years with offices throughout California and Nevada. It works in cooperation with county social-service agencies who remove children from their homes due to neglect, abandonment, abuse, delinquency, guardian absence or voluntary placement.

Koinonia places these youth in foster homes to help them catch their breath and not add any more stress to an already challenging childhood. The youth are already vulnerable and don’t need any more hardships. They need to be in a welcoming environment.

These children have already dealt with county social services, child protective services, adoption services, probation departments and other agencies that they shouldn’t have to deal with, in a normal childhood.

Now they need a loving environment where they can be kids for a while.

That’s where Koinonia Family Services comes in. The nonprofit organization is contracted by the county to find foster homes for approximately 137 children a year in emergency situations. It’s not easy finding a family willing to take in a stranger. It takes an altruistic adult to let these youth, many going through their own emotional and physical issues, share in a healthy living environment.

Such as Stacey and Julian Goodson of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Four of their six teens were first their foster children.

“It’s like a walking United Nations, really. Sometimes we don’t explain it,” Julian Goodson recently told WoodTV.com.

The Goodsons hope that the “This Is Us” TV show makes fostering more popular.

“Any time it can be portrayed in a positive light within mainstream, then people realize there’s a need: ‘I have a loving home, let’s open it up to someone that needs it,’” Julian Goodson told WoodTV.com.

Fourteen months ago, Julian Goodson wrote a book, “Thoughts of a Foster Dad,” to encourage others to foster youth.

In a blog (https://thoughtsofafosterdad.org/2016/08/12/we-can-be-the-help), he wrote, “We promise to love, nurture, provide for, and take care of your child as if he is our own while you work on putting the pieces of your life together if only you let us help you. The Goodson Home is not perfect but ‘love’ lives here - for both our children and those working to better their lives in order to get those young people back home.”

Kudos to those families, such as the Goodsons, who are willing to be foster families.

For more information on becoming a foster or what is today called resource parent, call Koinonia Family Services’ Banetta Bacchi at 916 652-5814, extension 1100.