Foster care leads to forever family in southeastern Kentucky

Published 6:03 am Sunday, May 30, 2021

After marrying in 2013, Camillia and Ernie Howells knew immediately they wanted children. But after struggling with infertility issues for several years, the couple began looking at other options and took the first steps towards becoming foster parents.

“We wanted to choose foster care instead of just a private adoption because we know the state of Kentucky has so many children in need that need homes,” Camillia said. “There are children that range in age from newborn all the way up to 18 and they all need a forever family. We knew we could easily pay the money to a private agency and adopt a newborn, which is what a lot of people choose and that’s fine but we wanted to help the children that were already in need.”

The Howells were officially licensed to foster children in the state in 2018.

“At first, we didn’t take any permanent placements, we did a lot of respite care, which is where you actually look after other foster parents’ foster kids to give them a break,” Camillia said. “One woman had a sick mother, so she couldn’t take the kid she was fostering for to the hospital each time, so we would watch him. We kind of did that to get our feet wet in the process before we took our first permanent placement.”
The pair welcomed their first foster placement approximately a year after their licensure.

“It was the most happy, exciting but also terrifying time ever because you want them to like you and you want to like them and you want to be able to mesh as a family,” Camillia said.

Their first placement, who was a teenage boy, stayed with the Howells for almost two years before ultimately deciding he didn’t want to be adopted, something that Camillia and Ernie were longing for.
“We decided we wanted to build a forever family, so we took another placement,” Camillia said. “So, that’s what we did and that’s how we found our sweet Elliott.”