Kaylyn, 14, and Aubrey, 8, live with their adoptive parents in Sampson County, 1.5 hours south of Durham, where they were once homeless and ended up in foster care.
Last year, the girls were officially adopted by their aunts and uncles Kathy and Arnold Pope.
Kaylyn officially changed her middle name to Grace to honor her new-found faith and gratitude.
“I’m just grateful to Gran and Pop because they’ve been with us through so many things,” Kaylyn said. “I’m just grateful they got us in.”
According to the Pope, the girls’ parents suffered from substance abuse. Their father recently died of addiction.
In 2018, the retired couple began the process of fostering kinship through Durham Social Services, becoming parents to school-age children again. This time when they were over 60 years old.
“We had to do it. I just thought we had to do it,” Arnold Pope said. “They are a family.”
“It’s been a long journey. It’s been tiring and difficult, but they’ve been with us,” said Kathy Pope. “We are very fortunate that they adjusted as well as they did.”
It is also a change for the Popes.
“It’s a lot different than raising boys,” Arnold said.
Kathy joked: “The necklaces, the jewelry, the nails, the haircut, the hairdo in the TV series.”
Aubrey calls her amazing aunt and uncle mom and pop. She describes the experience with them in one word: “Good.”
According to statewide data from Managed Assistance for Child Welfare, First Jobs, and Food & Nutrition Services in North Carolina, As of September 2021, an estimated 11,585 children were in foster care. maintenance; On average, 16,652 children were cared for by the State from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
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