Seattle’s Child is proud to partner with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington to honor outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.
All month long, we’ll introduce you to Unsung Heroes from around the state: biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofits; some mentor others in their communities. Enjoy their stories.
Devon & James Abejo, Tacoma
I had the pleasure of working with the Abejos during the period of July through November of 2020, during which time they were caring for a 4-year-old female foster child, “R.”
Devon and James had accepted placement of R with the express goal of preparing her for reunification with her biological father. R and her father had a complicated relationship history, evidenced by R’s mixed emotions and volatile behavior before or after visits with him. R struggled with severe emotional dysregulation, presented with sensory processing issues, and experienced significant sleep disruptions. To complicate things further, R and her father also did not speak the same language.
Devon and James embraced R and all of her challenges with sensitivity, patience and empathy. They speak Spanish and began teaching this to R. They developed a trusting relationship with her father in an effort to facilitate the healthiest transition possible into his care. They communicated with him on a daily basis and arranged visits beyond the court-ordered frequency and length. To further integrate R’s two worlds, they helped her father prepare meals that she enjoyed, shop for clothes and toys, and worked to familiarize R with aspects of her culture of origin (e.g. music, books, and food) that she would soon be immersed in.
Devon and James executed the transition in a manner that exceeded expectations of foster parents through their extraordinary level of compassion and support to both R and her father. They are so very deserving of this award!
Nominator: Dianna Zaorski