Finding a Home For Sam

Sam* came to Sunrise’s Spring Meadows Center last June. As he walked through the doors the staff noticed how young and small he was. But this small young man quickly made a big impression. The staff was very impressed with Sam’s kindness and how he was always ready to help others when needed.

But Sam was struggling with family trauma. His biological father’s rights were terminated due to long-term abuse inflicted on Sam, his sisters, and his mother. Sam’s biological mother was unresponsive to his phone calls, and Sam was not allowed contact with his sisters who were in a foster home.

In spite of these setbacks, Sam was determined to work incredibly hard. Amanda Bradford, Sunrise’s Residential Therapist at Spring Meadows Center, worked closely with Sam and shared that from June to November, Sam was increasing his social skills, improving his grades, learning effective anger management skills, overcoming his depression, and stabilizing his trauma. 

But then another major setback occurred. Sam was told that his mother was voluntarily terminating her parental rights of Sam and his sisters. And in January of this year, his mother’s rights were officially terminated. Sam was heartbroken.

In February, Amanda and a Spring Meadows Center Direct Care Counselor took Sam to have a goodbye visit with his mother and sisters. “Needless to say, it was heart wrenching,” said Amanda. 

Unfortunately, after this visit, Amanda saw Sam regressing. He began resorting back to aggression and defiance. But Amanda and other Sunrise staff refused to give up on Sam. This commitment and persistence on the team’s part would make a difference. “Slowly but steadily, he continued engaging in treatment and worked his way back to the healthier version of himself that he worked so hard to become,” stated Amanda. “Sam easily steals your heart with his bright spirit and resilient personality. He is a kiddo that has experienced so much trauma and is deserving of stability and happiness.” 

And it appears that stability and happiness has finally come. Just recently, Sam spoke with a potential foster family over the phone, and it was immediately arranged for him to meet the family and stay with them for a week. Sam quickly responded to this loving family and seemed to instantly fit in. Reports throughout the week indicated that Sam was very happy, and the family shared how well he was doing. 

And then the news got even better. “As we were working on plans to pick him up from this pass, DCBS (Department for Community Based Services) indicated that the family wanted to move forward in placing Sam in their home and preferred to do so immediately,” said Amanda. “Having already completed his treatment with me, Sam was absolutely ready to be discharged – and  was in need of having this display of affection and being wanted by a family – so his treatment team agreed to discharge him, allowing him to stay in the home and not have to return to Spring Meadows Center.”

Sunrise believes there are more happy endings for many other “Sams” in Kentucky. Are you willing to open up your heart and home to those, like Sam, longing to be held and loved? Will you consider giving to Sunrise so that they will discover a bright future? Your prayers and your support are what Sunrise kids need the most, and what can help make finding a home for them possible.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.

Written by David Lyninger, Sunrise Children’s Services Associate Director of Communications

Jake Pelfrey