Elizabeth and Joseph Newton’s daughter, Sasha, started preschool here at the age of two in 1999 and graduated from fifth grade in 2008. When she was a self-sufficient young woman, the Newtons made a surprising decision. They wanted to give back to a world that “seemed to be going in harrowing directions” by taking in a foster child. They applied to a foster care agency in April of 2018 and started by doing some respite care for foster parents who needed a break.
On April 23 that year, they got a call asking if they could take in a two-year-old boy named Royal. They said yes, even though they were given little information about him. Elizabeth immediately called the White Pony to see if there was a spot for him. Both parents work full time, and their need was urgent.
We were able to find a spot for Royal. After he was enrolled, Preschool Director Susie Kohl introduced the family to Phuong Simpson, the school’s long-time consultant from We Care, a nonprofit that provides support to children and families. Phuong has helped children adjust successfully to our preschool for over a decade.
Royal had never been to preschool. Phuong began working with the family and the teachers to aid in his transition, a collaboration that has continued for three years.
On April 23, three years after he came to our school, Room 1 held an adoption party for Royal. The family brought fresh fruit and beautiful flowers. At circle time, Royal sat in the middle of the rug with a crown on his head and told the children proudly, “I’m going to court to be adopted.”
Elizabeth Newton says, “Raising my son has taught me so many things I didn’t know about trauma, healing, and myself. The school has been essential to Royal’s healing, and they demonstrate day in and day out that it truly takes a village.
“We hope that sharing our journey might inspire other families to consider this path and open their homes to foster children. Know that it will be disruptive and often challenging, but deeply rewarding. Raising my son has been more fulfilling than anything I’ve done previously in my life.”