November is National Adoption Month, and as we know many adoptions are the joyful result of foster care. Foster care is at the forefront of Pressley Ridge, a social impact organization dedicated to building strong families and communities through mental and behavioral health services and specialized education, in addition to foster care and adoption. This has been the mission of Pressley Ridge for more than 186 years since its founding as an orphanage on the North Side of Pittsburgh in 1832. Their ultimate goal is to reduce a child’s trauma by ensuring that they are safe and cared for by trained foster parents and, when appropriate, to help foster parents and families on their journey to adoption.
Hannah and Jesus, “Zeus”, Origel of Brighton Heights, Pittsburgh began fostering with Pressley Ridge four years ago, and since then, they have fostered 14 children and adopted one son.
“My wife and I started our journey with foster care during the Mexican border crisis some years ago,” Zeus said. “We were certified by Pressley Ridge to foster unaccompanied minors from the border and after that, we became official foster parents with Pressley Ridge.”
The 14 foster children, who add their name to the family tree painting hanging in the Origels’ living room so the Origel’s can pray and remember them even after they leave, include a week-old baby born to a parent with addiction problems. After just one month, the baby was thriving and healthy – thanks to the constant love, care and support from Hannah and Jesus. They also took in a child whose foster parents could no longer care for him, and three years later, they adopted him as their son.
“Foster care and adoption were always on our hearts,” said Zeus. “Once we got married, we always wanted to be a home for kids who needed to be here long term or short term. Yes, it can be difficult, but the blessings that come from serving certainly outweigh any troubles or worries that come with the job.”
Jesus and Hannah say that they have always felt completely supported and effectively trained by the Pressley Ridge staff, who are always available. The experience has been so powerful for them, that they have been instrumental in recruiting other couples to become foster parents with Pressley Ridge.
Pressley Ridge has grown and expanded throughout their 186-year history thanks to all the individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the life of a child.
“Our impact on the thousands of children and families we serve throughout six states and extending into countless communities and towns wouldn’t be possible without the strength and dedication of our foster parents,” said Susanne Cole, President and CEO of Pressley Ridge. “Because of their willingness to open their hearts and homes, we can continue to build strong families and strong communities. That is at the core of Pressley Ridge.”
For more information on Pressley Ridge’s adoption services, visit http://www.pressleyridge.org/adoption.