04 January 2016

When you think about it, the holidays are really a celebration of love. And if the old adage is true – giving is better than receiving – then what can be better than giving the gift of a forever family for Christmas? That’s the gift Robin and Mardi Fogel gave to 12-year old Katie and 9-year old Ben this season.

“They truly are great kids,” Robin said. “The little guy just wants to cuddle and have books read to him. Katie loves art and animals. She has a smile that warms your heart.”

Robin and Mardi, of Coopersburg, have a biological son, 11-year old Zachary, but Robin said she had long thought about growing her family with adoption.

“It broke my heart when kids turned 18 and said ‘I’m never going to have a family’,” Robin recalls of her experiences as a social worker, working with teens in residential facilities that were aging out of the system.

When Mardi agreed to adoption, Robin turned to The Salvation Army Children’s Services program.

Since 1915, The Salvation Army Children's Services has been connecting children with safe, loving, and caring homes and families across the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys. 

“Our mission is doing the most good by nurturing children, strengthening families and engaging communities,” said Jan Musser Geier, Outreach and Marketing Coordinator, The Salvation Army Children’s Services.

With over 2,000 children in Pennsylvania waiting in foster care or group homes for a forever family, there is a tremendous need for loving families who are willing to open their hearts and homes. The Fogel’s first spotted Katie and Ben by scanning photos posted on the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) website, of children and youth who are legally free for adoption waiting for a permanent family in Pennsylvania. Although the Fogel family had originally set out to adopt one child, when they came across this sibling set, they couldn’t say no.

 “When I saw their pictures, I knew they were going to be our kids,” Robin said.

Ben and Katie were removed from their biological parents’ home when they were 3 and 6 respectively. They were separated and bounced around between foster homes, and then they were placed in a residential group home for two years.  By the time the Fogel family came into the picture, Robin said the children didn’t know what to make of it.  After two years of serving as their foster parents and going through the legal adoption process, Katie and Ben officially became Fogel’s on October 30.

“I was like ‘Yes!’,” Ben exclaimed.

The Fogel’s extended family, close friends and their caseworkers from The Salvation Army Children’s Services packed the courtroom on Adoption Day and there wasn’t a dry eye, Robin said.

“The kids kept giving us kisses and hugs,” she said.