Foster parent adopted through Oakland Family Services pays it forward

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The first time Kevin and Rebecca Hepner set eyes on Olivia she was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. John Hospital struggling to breathe. The infant was born six weeks premature, drug dependent, and weighed only 5 pounds.

“I walked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and saw all those babies, and no one was there for them,” Kevin recalled.

After three weeks of breathing treatments and round-the-clock care, Olivia went home on May 15, 2017 with Kevin and Rebecca, foster parents licensed through Oakland Family Services since April 2016.

The Rochester couple thought Olivia would be like the other four foster children they had cared for and either return to her biological mother or family member or be placed in another foster home. To their surprise, Olivia’s biological mother, who struggled with drug use and was incarcerated for a period of time, terminated her parental rights seven months later.

It was a blessing for the Hepners, who had always hoped to adopt a child. Kevin knew he wanted the adoption done by Oakland Family Services – the same agency that handled his adoption 37 years ago.

“I want to pay it forward,” said Kevin, a financial advisor with Tru Vista Wealth Advisors. “I don’t want anyone to go through the alternative. I’m lucky my wife wanted to adopt as well.”

On April 19, the Hepners adopted Olivia at Oakland County Circuit Court surrounded by family and friends.

“I felt such relief, happiness and overwhelming love by family and friends,"  said Rebecca, major gifts fundraiser for the Salvation Army.

Kevin added, “It was one of the best days of my life.”

For the past two years, the Hepners have been foster parents to five children, including Olivia, all under the age of 2. With hundreds of children in Oakland County in need of a loving and safe home, the Hepners are encouraging others to consider becoming a foster parent.

“There is so much love as an adult you can give a child, why not share that love if you could afford to,” Rebecca said. “There are so many kids in need right now. You don’t even understand the problem until you become a foster parent.”

To learn more about becoming a foster parent or adoption, check out the foster care and adoption page.

“The caseworkers at Oakland Family Services are compassionate, hardworking, and dedicated to the children and the process,” Rebecca said.