On Tues., Nov. 22, SaintA foster/adoptive parents Scot and Mya Yohr were presented with a Governor’s Outstanding Adoptive Parents Award in the Assembly Chamber at the State Capital. They were in good company with five other Wisconsin families being recognized during Adoption Awareness Month.
The Yohrs have adopted 3 children and had been licensed foster parents in Milwaukee County for about 6 years before moving to Dane County. Their first adoption was a sibling set of two boys, ages 5 and 10 years old at the time.
After that adoption, and although they hadn’t originally planned on it, they decided to stay open as an emergency placement home. In some cases, they ended up maintaining placement well beyond the emergency timeframe.
From Emergency to Long-Term to Permanent
That was the case for one sibling set of two girls. “The Yohrs changed their original thoughts of only being a short-term home and said they would maintain placement of the girls until it was no longer needed,” explains SaintA Lead Licensing Specialist, Karen Thiel. “Due to the higher level of needs for the younger girl, she was placed in treatment foster care, while the oldest girl stayed with the Yohrs and was eventually adopted by them.”
Scot and Mya have an excellent reputation as caregivers and have really understood the importance of co-parenting with birth parents and maintaining relationships between children in their home and their extended biological families. “Building relationships is something that SaintA really values and that’s just the beginning of what this family has done,” says Thiel. The Yohrs attended family team meetings and provided updates to the biological families outside structured times. They had birth parents over to their home and provided transportation for children to visit with extended families.
Relationships Built on Trust
The boys’ birth father expressed to the court how grateful he was for the Yohrs. Even as parental rights were being terminated, he said he trusted Scot and Mya and believed they would maintain a relationship with him and his family. The girls’ birth mother also expressed gratitude toward the Yohrs during her voluntary TPR (termination of parental rights) hearing. “She said she was thankful they were involved not only in her daughter’s life but in hers as a role model and support to her,” recalls Thiel.
“I believe the biological families felt that way because of the hard work and genuine relationship the Yohrs built with the families even long before the TPR proceedings began”
Although the Yohrs are no longer licensed with SaintA, they had been clients for quite some time and have made an impression on Thiel and other staff. “I have known them since the beginning, when they first became licensed foster parents. They are the kind of people we could go to if we needed suggestions or advice on how to help other parents manage relationships with children in their home. They will be missed in Milwaukee County.”