Each story behind a kinship family is unique, and for Stephen and Leana Kratko and their daughters, their family’s story is no exception. Their journey began when their family was volunteering with an organization for a number of years, which is how they met the two girls and their Mom. They became friends and tried to find ways to love on the family and help when they could. When Mom began to have some trouble with housing, the girls came to stay with the Kratko’s while she got things sorted. Their Kinship Support Worker elaborated, “From day one of the girls being dropped off at their home to stay for a “couple of days”, Stephen and Leana have been 100% dedicated to caring for the girls as their own. They have been patient, understanding, open-minded, collaborative and engaging in all areas where the outcome is in the best interest of the girls. They truly have gone above and beyond to promote connection between the girls and their family while also supporting their connection and comfort within the kinship home. They have opened the doors to Mom, inviting her to be a part of their extended family while she works on her own wellness.”
Mom hasn’t been able to sort things out as she had planned, and so the girls’ life with the Kratko’s began to look more permanent. Although this was never the plan, they have had the great privilege of adding the girls to their family and have applied to adopt them. According to their worker, “Leana has specifically offered her undivided attention to each of the girl’s academic needs, while advocating for any extra resources required. They have taken it upon themselves to increase their knowledge and understanding of trauma-informed care to fully support the girls emotionally and developmentally. As a result, Leana shares that it has been lovely to watch these girls become part of our family and heal from so many past hurts. “They are so beautiful and fit so well into our family. Our other girls have embraced them as sisters, and it has been so fun to watch as they have. The whole family has grown and changed for the better as we have learned about this new family of ours.”
When asked to share some insights for other kinship families embarking on this journey, Leana offered the following, “… hang in there and love your kids. The first few months with so many meetings and appointments were really hard, but it leveled off and we were able to get into a good rhythm. Our Kinship Worker has been a constant, amazing resource for us so lean into them for support. Most importantly, love your kids where they are at and as whole-heartedly as you can – they are amazing little people with so much to give and teach us if we will only listen.”
Well said. Congratulations Kratko family!