Describes what being a foster mom is really like, the effects of foster care on the whole family, and how the foster care system fails severely abused children.
Foster children are society’s throwaway kids, the children no one wants—until someone finally does. Saving Michael provides an inside look into Keri Vellis’ struggle to secure the best possible services for two severely abused and traumatized siblings. Some doors opened, but too many closed during her ten-year journey as the voice for children in her care who have no voice of their own within the current system. Readers get a glimpse of Keri and her family’s day-to-day life as she went from mother of three to adoptive mother of three more children and then the temporary caregiver of another seventeen.
Saving Michael delves into issues bigger than one family’s experiences and determination. Now an author and child advocate, Vellis provides a profoundly personal look into what it takes to get the best for each of the children she’s had in her care. Her journey started from the first day of her first foster care situation and the urgent need for diagnoses and treatment. It continued despite the many obstacles thrown in her path to securing services for the vulnerable children in her family’s care. Along the way, she details the many ups and downs, challenges and triumphs, her whole family experienced as part of the foster care system. All children deserve permanent, safe homes. The effort to obtain those for every child is a tremendous one not for the faint-hearted. But the rewards reverberate for everyone when it works. Follow Keri and her family on this heartfelt journey of love and persistence.
Keri Vellis and her husband Teddy are passionate and involved parents of six children. Although Keri began her career in the dental field, her life changed dramatically in 2013 when she and her husband became foster parents. Keri has now spent several years in the child-welfare arena and has dealt with both public and private agencies and school systems. She’s worked with individual social workers along with various medical and therapeutic specialists, always advocating for children who can’t speak for themselves. She lives with her family in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.
Chapter 1: Our Choices, Our Challenges
Chapter 2: Lifting the Lid from Pandora’s Box
Chapter 3: I’m not Going Away
Chapter 4: Asking, Demanding, and Not Taking No for an Answer
Chapter 5: The Two Lost Years
Chapter 6: Over the Long Haul…
Chapter 7: Ups & Downs and Always Something New
Chapter 8: Are You Ready for this Challenge?
Chapter 9: One Child Bumps Up Against the “System”
Chapter 10: Books, Advocacy, and Looking to the Future
About the Author
Saving Michael is a compelling, devastating, and well-informed indictment of the US foster care system in which Keri Vellis, now a dedicated child advocate, relates her history as a foster and adoptive parent for children suffering extreme deprivation and abuse. As a new foster parent, Vellis is surprised and dismayed (and then frustrated and angry) to discover that the children’s caseworkers don’t necessarily share the urgency she feels about the need for services such as counseling and other forms of developmental and educational assistance. Vellis’s super powers appear to be ego strength and tenacity and she often ultimately prevails, but after much struggle. The children in Vellis’ life have indeed been fortunate that she has such a hard time taking no for an answer. Saving Michael is Vellis’ attempt to pass on the lessons she has learned about working with the foster care system in a way that truly advocates for children, and it is a call for reform of that clearly defective system.