Since 2013, Travis and Shelly Keller have performed the critical work of providing nurture and stability for children in crisis. They have a particular heart for sibling sets, working toward reintegrating these children with their families or with relatives, or helping to place them for adoption when family reintegration is not possible. In addition, the Kellers provide short-term, emergency, and respite care.
One of the Kellers’ keys to success has been working to establish positive relationship with the biological families of the children who come into their home. “We send photos, exchange texts, and have the kids make meaningful crafts while they’re in our care,” Shelly says. “Keeping the lines of communication open and the relationship as healthy as possible is so important to reintegration.” In addition, the Kellers work with families to help meet whatever needs are present in order to assist in the reintegration or kinship process, and they love to stay in touch with children and their families after reintegration is complete.
Last year, Travis and Shelly spoke to their church about starting a foster care mission. Alongside their church, they’ve collected donations for mattresses, bed frames, and other essentials, as well as funds to repair homes in order to meet DCF licensing regulations. On July 13, the Kellers’ church is also hosting Fostering Growth in Foster Families, where families will receive training, encouragement, pampering, and a gift basket.
Serving as foster parents with EmberHope Youthville has been challenging and demanding, but the Kellers wouldn’t trade their experience for anything. “We’re so blessed to be able to make a difference in the lives of children who need it so badly,” Shelly says. “Being foster parents is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.”