Anna was born in 2007 in the Oklahoma County jail. She was 10 weeks premature and pronounced clinically dead by medics, but her story wasn’t finished. Miraculously, she regained her heartbeat and lived on a ventilator at Children’s Hospital for the next six weeks. Even with expert care, her outlook was not great. After a failed kinship placement, she returned to the hospital with double pneumonia and “failure to thrive.” Doctors warned that without the bond of a loving parental figure, Anna would likely die.
When the Harkins family heard about Anna, they immediately stepped in. After spending many nights with her in the hospital, they brought her home as her foster parents. Two years later, Anna joined their family through adoption. Witnessing how profoundly a loving foster family can change–or even save–a child’s life, the Harkins formed The Anna’s House Foundation in her honor. Dedicated to meeting the needs of newborns and infants in foster care, The Anna’s House Foundation has provided immediate, stable and loving homes for Oklahoma’s children in state custody since 2009.
Support for Foster Families
The Foundation addresses the physical and emotional needs of foster families. In addition to clothing and the tangible resources needed to support a child, Anna’s House connects families with the preparation, training, and community support throughout their fostering journey.
“I think of a little one showing up in my home–a stranger’s home–in the middle of the night,” said Angie Sullivan, former foster parent and current Anna’s House volunteer. “Right out of the gate, Anna’s House provided everything we needed to give them a safe place, show them love, and be a sort of lighthouse during an incredibly difficult time in their life.”
Katherine Craig, executive director of The Anna’s House Foundation, encourages anyone who has ever considered fostering to simply give them a call. “Fear can keep people from seeking out answers,” Katherine said. “If it’s ever been on your heart, just give us a call and we can answer any questions you might have. No pressure, just information.”
For those who do move forward with fostering, the process is really simple. “Once someone calls, it only takes about 60 days to walk through certification, and we have a great team that helps families do that.” And the need has never been greater. “The Foundation has recently seen an increase in need, as foster homes are closing without being replenished,” Katherine said. “Children are waiting, sometimes overnight in a caseworker’s office.”
More Ways to Serve
Even if fostering is not in your future, there are still ways to get involved. And since May is National Foster Care Month, there’s no better time than now. The Anna’s House Foundation is always accepting donations and volunteers. “We appreciate any investment of time, talent, or treasure,” Katherine said.
Volunteer opportunities include offering childcare while future foster families attend two-hour training or support groups, providing meals for families as they adjust to new placements, organizing the Foundation’s free resource room, or hosting a donation drive. The Anna’s House Foundation is also a great destination for group volunteer work, providing corporate, church, or school groups with meaningful, handson service.
For more information about The Anna’s House Foundation, or to get involved, visit annashousefoundation.org.