Family means everything to Adrienne Lewis,* and this Christmas will be extra special with more stockings hanging from the mantle and more chairs around the dinner table. In the past year, the Lewis family has officially expanded by four. Adrienne adopted three of her nephews last August and her niece’s adoption was finalized just last month. Each of the children have endured a great deal of mental and emotional wounds in their young lives before uniting with their aunt.
In November 2021, Laura Reed-Sallee, a Family Therapist with Cunningham’s Intensive Placement Stabilization (IPS) program, began working with the family. She, and Family Support Specialist Sandy Ratliff, provided intensive home-based support. These support services included family therapy, mentoring and caregiver support to Adrienne on a consistent basis. Laura and Sandy helped Adrienne advocate for safety needs and ensured all the necessary resources were put in place to help with the family’s overall success. Adrienne had been taking care of the children well before the adoptions took place and IPS was a great source of support for her.
“Adrienne is a tremendous advocate for the children in getting their needs met,” Laura said. “She’s been through so much—a lot of hardships and financial setbacks—but she’s leaned into her family and community supports, and has been committed from the beginning to keep the children together.”
In addition to her own three children, Adrienne is now taking care of six of her sister’s children as well as two other kids of another relative. Her sister also has two other children who have been placed outside of the home. Adrienne supports them through visitation, which helps strengthen their family’s connection. While Adrienne may have her hands full, so is her heart.
“Adrienne is very compassionate and has a very big heart,” Laura said. “They’re just a really beautiful family.”
*Our story is real, but name has been changed to protect privacy.