Newlyweds Anna and Sam McDonald were busy planning a peaceful, sunny retirement down in Georgia when life took an unexpected turn. One day they received notification that Anna’s three grandchildren were in the emergency care of Franklin County Children Services and needed a safe place to stay as soon as possible. In spite of their plans to relocate out of state, the couple didn’t hesitate to step up and welcome the three siblings into their home. While they didn’t intend to be raising three kids at this stage in their lives, the McDonalds are now a happy family of five, two grandparents busy providing their grandkids with a nurturing, stable home.
Franklin County Children Services counts on kinship caregivers like the McDonalds—aunts, uncles, grandparents or even close family friends—to be there for children who, for one reason or another, cannot safely stay with their parents or other immediate family. In some circumstances, it’s a temporary placement in a time of crisis, while at other times it’s a permanent arrangement.
For the McDonalds, raising Rashon, Don’Tess and Anjel isn’t always easy and finances can be tight, but it somehow all works out. “We love and enjoy them,” Sam says. “They really are a blessing.” The three children are now flourishing under the loving care of Anna and Sam, whom they call “mom” and “dad.” Anjel is on the honor roll, the once-shy Don’Tess has come out of his shell and is doing well in school, and the rambunctious Rashon is bright and talkative with a huge vocabulary for a preschooler. “We’re so proud of how far they’ve come and how well they’re doing,” Anna says.