4 Siblings Overnight

Caylee Howser, News Editor

 Sophomore Vanessa Maturey went from one to five siblings overnight. In 2018 her life changed forever.

   Maturey grew up in a picture perfect family. A mother, father, and two kids, her and her older brother, Grant.

   “My family was at a funeral and my dad noticed his cousin wasn’t there,” Maturey said.

   They asked around and found out her father’s cousin and wife had been arrested, leaving his four kids in foster care. The kids were separated into two different  foster homes.

   “The night I found out, my parent’s called Grant and I into the living room. They said we were family and we had to help them, even though we are distant, family takes care of each other,” Maturey said.

   She and Grant were left speechless. Soon after, reality set in.

   “I met the kids at a McDonalds two months later in Wichita, Kansas. They were too young to really know what was going on other than the fact that they were meeting distant family members, but they were excited to see us,” she explained.

   They engaged in small talk and got to know one another a little better. It was awkward at first, but they settled in.

   “That same day we met they called my parents mom and dad,” she said.

   Their new siblings are Lily 9, Bryce 8, Peyton 7, Matthew 4. With the new additions difficulties arose.

   “We began fostering them, and I began resenting them,” Maturey said.

   She talked of being upset about not being the youngest anymore and feelings of having her parents taken away. Suddenly her parents were busy changing diapers, reading bedtime stories, and driving four kids to school, instead of listening to her talk about events with her friends, or what was going on at school. Maturey had immense feelings of jealousy and being forgotten.

   “We fostered them for over a year before we could make it official. It started getting easier,” she said.

   Routines started coming together. Her father would take the kids to and from school on his way to work, Grant and Vanessa drove together to school, and whoever was available when people needed to be places would volunteer. It truly takes a village to raise a family that big.

   “There are plenty of times I feel like a family, and then other times I get frustrated and feel disconnected,” Maturey said.

   There are eight people living in a house which once held four. Peyton and Lily share a room, Bryce and Matthew share a room, and Vanessa and Grant each have their own. This makes it moderately comfortable. 

   The frustration comes when the 

kids disobey and her parents get in a bad mood, or when no one can take Vanessa where she needs to go because the kids have a prior commitment.

   “The moment that stands out most of feeling like one big family, was at the courthouse when the adoption became official on October 11, 2019,” Maturey said.

   The time it took was well worth it.

   “I’ve bonded with all of them, but probably the girls a little more,” Maturey said.

   Maturey told stories of doing the girl’s hair and teaching the boys how to play soccer.

   “I have learned a lot about the foster care system and I’ve found out how many kids need help,” she said.

   “Adoption is too often overlooked and so many kids like the ones we adopted need a home,” Maturey said.

   “I have so much love for them. I wouldn’t change a thing,” Maturey concluded.