The Petkovich Family:
Parent Trudy with Adopted Children Katherine, Deborah and Molly
Trudy is a widow who has spent the past 16 years dedicating her life to foster children in the South Florida area. She currently resides with her biological children and three adopted children.
When asked the question "Where do babies come from?" one of Trudy and John Petkovich's foster children replied, "Aunt Trudy's house." Their foster child could not be more correct. For over 16 years, Trudy and John fostered nearly 300 of South Florida's most vulnerable children.
Their story began when their biological son, John Jr., commented, "If everyone would just take one child, all the children would have a home." This one comment launched the Petkovich family into action and they began fostering infants, all under the age of 18-months-old. Trudy knew not to fight what she could do well, and what she knew she was good at was taking care of babies.
Trudy's experience as a foster parent increased her interest in Florida's adoption systems and she began volunteering with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Eventually her work with DCF led her to Kids Hope United, which provides prevention, intervention, and community-based services to vulnerable children and families in Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.
While the Petkovich family was committed to fostering children, they did not initially intend to adopt. Trudy believes that her family didn't choose adoption but that adoption chose them. Over the years Trudy, John, Amy and John Jr. extended their family by adopting Katherine, Deborah and Molly. Katherine who turned 18 in February 2008 was Trudy and John's first foster placement and arrived at their home when she was 18-months-old. Deborah, 13, was brought to the Petkovich family as a drug-exposed newborn when she was 15 days old, and Molly, 7, was brought to the foster family as a premature baby.
Trudy has learned many things from her adopted children, one of them being, "with faith and friends that care about you and your children, your children can do anything." It takes the support of family and real friends to be an adoptive parent. In addition, Trudy is appreciative of the financial support offered by the state as well as health benefits for her adopted daughters. She believes the funds provided by the state are a way to thank those individuals who have opened their hearts and homes to adoption.
In 2006, John Petkovich tragically passed away and since Trudy has made the decision to no longer foster children, but rather focus on her family. Trudy continues to work as a foster parent liaison for Kids Hope United and remains in contact with many of the family's former foster children. "Foster care and adoption can be one of the most rewarding things you do with your life," said Trudy. "Every day I am grateful for my children, every day is truly a blessing."