Youth Villages stories

Dotson family

The Kids Need Love

Apr 28, 2021 | Blog

When they set out to foster one child, Angela and Kevin Dotson never expected they would end up adopting all five of their foster placement children. But they couldn’t be happier. With one biological 15-year-old daughter, their family has grown to six kids at home over the last five years.

The Dotsons, who live in Greenville, Tennessee, took in siblings Frankie and Macey, who they fostered for three years before finalizing their adoption. Now Frankie is 8, and Macey is 6. They called Angela and Kevin ‘mom and dad’ from day one in their home. The Dotsons worked with Frankie on his behavioral issues, finally discovering they were stemming from a sensory processing disorder. Angela worked with his teachers to establish an individual education plan, and now he is succeeding in third grade.

Next to come to their home was teenager Sue Marie, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico. She’s been with the Dotsons as a foster child for three years and her adoption was finalized in March 2021. Through specialized services and interventions, Sue Marie has found her voice and is able to talk about past trauma she experienced in her biological mother’s home. She was the youngest in her biological home and is now the oldest, a transition she has made well. She is a high school senior, a great worker and recently was accepted to community college for fall 2021.

Kevin and AngelaSiblings 6-year-old Lily and 3-year-old Liam moved in with the Dotsons in late 2019 as a foster placement. Their adoption was also finalized in March 2021. Lily and Macey are in the same grade but different classes. Liam is a more delicate child with medically fragile struggles. He experienced abuse with his biological family that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, and everyone in the Dotson family is working to help him improve as much as he can.

“Liam is learning to drink through a straw, working to hold his head up on his own and pulling himself off the floor,” said Scott Williams, a Youth Villages foster care specialist who has worked with the family. “He can say the word blue and loves country music, especially Chris Stapleton.”

Liam requires a donated hospital bed, a chair for bathing and a g-tube for feeding. He is in physical therapy two days a week and occupational therapy one day a week, on top of speech therapy totaling 40 hours a week of expert help. But he’s made great progress over the last 18 months.

“Liam can stand up with specially made straps and braces,” Angela said. “He responds to our voices, moving his head around when he hears a voice from another room.”

“The Dotsons have huge hearts and demonstrate a lot of empathy,” Scott said.

When asked what advice she has for potential foster families, Angela said families should go with their hearts.

“These kids need love,” she said. “Not all children have a ‘bad’ history, but they do need your attention; find the kid that fits well in your household.”

For more information about foster care, visit the Youth Villages website or call 1-888-MY-YV-KID.

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